*** Major Spoilers ***
"An Education" is an entertaining little film, well done in all respects and superbly acted.
Some commentators here have complained about how implausible it was how the heroine, and her father, act in this film. I however think that this exactly is the point the film tries to make:
-It shows that while being "smart" in school when getting good marks, you can still be "stupid" when it comes to relationships (Thinking that it is OK to be deflowered by a much older man you hardly know, as long as you are seventeen years old - so bizarre!). In school they may train you to get an "A" but the things that are really important in life, they don't teach you there. That has been true back then and it is still true today.
-It shows that even people with a higher education can have completely absurd views. If a headmistress displays such revolting and primitive anti-Semitism as is shown in the film, it may be sad but not at all implausible. Look around you today: Being a scholar at an university sure doesn't prevent you from being an idiot.
-It shows that while being concerned about his daughter's future, a loving father can still act stupid and make terrible mistakes. I thought Alfred Molina did a wonderful job in portraying this father, who seemed weak and - indeed - very stupid, but not at all implausible.
For me the most important scene was when Jenny discovers that David is a thief and, outraged, starts to walk away, but is then convinced by David to stay. I'm sure she knows that it's wrong to stay and that there will be no happy ending if she stays, and still she can't help it because the alternative - leading a decent, but boring life - is unacceptable to her. The representation of the world she is living in as seen in the film made me absolutely believe in her dilemma: doing what is expected of her by teacher, headmistress and parents, and be unhappy, or being happy in the company of criminals. A horrible choice indeed, when you can see no third way beyond these two.
And this is the reason why I found the ending of "An Education" the only weak point of the film and very disappointing: Miraculously, Jenny is finally admitted to Oxford, and suddenly the dull and boring life she detested earlier in the film, as seen in the arguments with her teacher and headmistress, is OK? WHY? The ending seemed far too moralizing, as if to say to the young viewers of the film: "Just stay in school, always conform to what society expects of you, even if it seems boring and useless (like wasting years of your wonderful youth in school), in the end it will all be fine!" The cheap feel-good-turn at the end, THAT was implausible. It would have been so much better if the film ended with Jenny NOT being admitted to Oxford, leaving the rest to the viewer's imagination.
In the early 1960's, sixteen year old Jenny Mellor lives with her parents in the London suburb of Twickenham. On her father's wishes, everything that Jenny does is in the sole pursuit of being accepted into Oxford, as he wants her to have a better life than he. Jenny is bright, pretty, hard working but also naturally gifted. The only problems her father may perceive in her life is her issue with learning Latin, and her dating a boy named Graham, who is nice but socially awkward. Jenny's life changes after she meets David Goldman, a man over twice her age. David goes out of his way to show Jenny and her family that his interest in her is not improper and that he wants solely to expose her to cultural activities which she enjoys. Jenny quickly gets accustomed to the life to which David and his constant companions, Danny and Helen, have shown her, and Jenny and David's relationship does move into becoming a romantic one. However, Jenny slowly learns more about David, and by association ...
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May 06, 2019 at 10:28 AM