Films & Schedules
  • An Education

  • Lone Scherfig

Country: United Kingdom
100 minutes

Thursday September 1006:00PM RYERSON Buy Now
Saturday September 1209:30AM AMC 3 Buy Now


It's 1961 in the London suburb of Twickenham, and bright sixteen-year-old Jenny (Carey Mulligan) is on the cusp of womanhood, fantasizing about a more sophisticated, refined life while smoking Gauloises cigarettes. Though she feels smothered by her own adolescence, Jenny is an assiduous, cello-playing schoolgirl with a real chance of landing a spot at Oxford University. Her path takes a turn, however, when she meets David (Peter Sarsgaard), a man who seems to embody her every fantasy.

David soon replaces Jenny's traditional schooling with his own brand of education: art auctions, smoky clubs, classical concerts and late-night dinners with his stylish yet inane friends (played with verve by Dominic Cooper and Rosamund Pike). Much to Jenny's amazement, David even manages to charm her conservative parents, despite being nearly twice her age.

Their romance flourishes, and David whisks Jenny away to Paris for her seventeenth birthday under the pretence of being chaperoned by his “Aunt Helen.” Upon her return to Twickenham, Jenny is the subject of intense scandal as her headmistress (fiercely played by Emma Thompson) and English teacher Miss Stubbs (Olivia Williams) accuse her of throwing away her future. Just as Oxford seems within reach, Jenny appears poised to embark on a new, rarefied life.

An Education is a moving film set against the stifling backdrop of post-war, pre-Paul McCartney England. The script by Nick Hornby (author of High Fidelity and About a Boy), based on a short memoir by British journalist Lynn Barber, is clever and nuanced, with a keen awareness of life's little absurdities. Director Lone Scherfig and her incredible ensemble cast deliver both a powerful coming-of-age story and a portrait of a culture on the threshold of change.

Michèle Maheux

Lone Scherfig was born in Copenhagen, and studied cinema at the University of Copenhagen and the National Film School of Denmark. She has written and directed radio dramas and television series in addition to films. Her feature films include the past Festival selections Italian for Beginners (00), which received a FIPRESCI Prize and the Silver Bear Jury Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival, Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself (03), Just Like Home (07) and An Education (09).

Cadillac People's Choice Award