This month for our Film Friday we have the beautiful, witty film An Education from 2009 starring Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard. The film, which was nominated for three Oscars is based on the autobiographical essay by journalist Lynn Barber. The screenplay, written by Nick Hornby, follows the story of sixteen year old Jenny who meets a mysterious older gentleman, David, and gets whisked away by the romance of a glamorous London lifestyle, only to have everything come crashing down when David turns out to be a less than genuine character. The story is set in 1960s London, and is top to toe beautiful, and as the story unfolds we get to see more and more wonderful interiors, buildings, houses and shots all composed together by the wonderful director Lone Sherfig.
There is a clever juxtaposition between Jenny’s normal, boring home-life and the extravagant world she is introduced to after meeting David. This is displayed rather wonderfully through the various interiors and sets. Here you can see the mundane, ordinary setting of a suburban area where the audience first meets Jenny and her family.
Her family home is a typical semi-detached 1930s house that can be found almost in all towns across the country. The inside is bland, decorated with generic ornaments and dark corners, almost to emphasis the typical, dreary lifestyle she’s living.
In contrast one her first night out with David and his friends, the audience is catapulted into the glitz and glam world of the 1960s in cosmopolitan London.
David’s friends Danny and Helen, played by Dominic Cooper and Rosamund Pike respectively, live in a picturesque London flat, which while Jenny’s family home is the epitome of middle class suburban life, their flat on the other hand is the essence of the upper class fashionable London highlife.
Their flat is full to the brim of priceless antiques, paintings and furniture all of which capture ‘good taste’, therefore portraying not only their assumed financial wealth but their cultural wealth as well.
A particularly lovely scene for interiors is when Helen is dressing Jenny up in her bedroom. The room is wall to wall plush satins and luxurious pieces of furniture.
An Education is beautifully shot, using classic London locations and architecture to propel us back in time and to create an atmosphere that ties into the character’s feelings in the film. Each scene is delicately made, and perfectly curated to not only recreate a sixties vibe but a romantic and stylish one as well.
If not for the charming coming-of-age story, then for a few hours of style heaven, An Education is a delightful film that is perfectly executed and well worth a watch.