Thursday, 30 September 2010

An Education (2009)

I love films. And I don’t mean just watching them for entertainment. It’s really fascinating thinking all the things that make a film what it is: the clothes and the settings, the character stereotypes and the relationships between them, but what I really love is when these relationships become complicated and multi-layered. That’s when points and messages really come across, and of course, that’s when it gets really interesting!

I couldn’t have a section on my films without one of my all-time favourites: An Education. The story is set in the 1960s suburban London and it is about a teenage girl from a middle class family, Jenny, who embarks on an affair with a much older man.

Carey Mulligan is a-m-a-z-i-n-g in her role as the very intelligent, talented and witty Jenny, who rebels and breaks the stereotype of women in the 1960s England: she does not destine herself to become a housewife in a patriarchal family. She applies to study to Oxford, lies to her parents, smokes, has sex and goes to out-of-town romantic weekends with a man twice her age. However, the real twist in the story is when she finds out that this man she is having an affair with and is ready to marry, is already married to another woman. She is shocked of course, not only at him, but also at her foolishness to leave school in order to be with him. Yet, she breaks the stereotype once again, goes back to school, gets into Oxford and dates men her age. If this is not inspiring I don’t know what is!

Apart from the story, however, what I adore about this movie is the style and elegance of the 60s: Mulligan with an almost Audrey Hepburn look when she’s getting ready to marry David (played by Peter Sarsgaard), the hair that is pulled back, the bold eyeliner, the red lipstick, the porcelain skin and the minimal jewellery undeniably give her an air of elegance I absolutely love. Rosamund Pike, who plays the role of Helen, a friend of David’s, although not as understated and elegant as Jenny, certainly captures the glamour of the time (which I’d personally connect with American style rather than British): she wears fur coats, leopard shirts and tailored trousers (which are back in fashion by the way). Although not as conservative as the rest of the female characters, she certainly makes out the best of her clothes. Sarsgaard also rocks the role of the middle aged playboy with his wit and natural charm. He even got me, let alone Jenny!

This for me, certainly gets a 9/10.

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