When Jenny (Academy AwardŽ and Golden GlobeŽ nominee Carey Mulligan), a bright young school girl who longs for adulthood, meets David (Peter Sarsgaard), a dashing older man, he introduces her to his vibrant world of glamorous friends, chic jazz clubs and her own sexual awakening. Will she let this affair ruin her dreams of attending Oxford, as her headmistress (Emma Thompson) fears? This captivating film sparkles with the wit, charm and style of 1960s Britain.
We are quite sure you have heard all the hype about Carey Mulligan because of this film. Before this, she had bit roles in Public Enemies (2009) and Pride and Prejudice (2005). It was indeed a pleasant surprise to have her bagging an Academy Awards Best Actress nomination for her performance in this Lone Scherfig directed picture. In fact, it is a pleasant surprise to know that a sincere production like this attracted enough attention to garner also Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay nominations at the Oscars this year. But we are not here to say how impressed we are with Mulligan’s acting. We are here to tell you how awed we are with one of the most underrated actor of our times, Peter Sarsgaard (Rendition, Jarhead).
The American actor plays a playboy in the 1960s who sweeps the feet off a young girl (Mulligan) half his age. The smart and pretty girl lives with her parents and is pursuing her father’s dream of being accepted into Oxford. After falling in love with the man who introduces her to the enjoyments of life, she must eventually choose her path in life.
Sarsgaad effortlessly brings the role of the dashing Casanova to life. While some actors would have portrayed this character in unfavourable light, creating a slimy caricature worthy of loath, Sarsgaad adds a touch of charm and sensitivity to the role and makes it his own. His endearing presence on screen has always been overlooked, which we feel is a pity. Someone give this man his due attention soon, we say. The actor is joined by an ensemble of wonderful performers which include Emma Thompson (Last Chance Harvey), Alfred Molina (The Da Vinci Code), Dominic Cooper (Mama Mia!) and Rosamund Pike (Surrogates). Together with Mulligan, the cast manages to engage viewers throughout the film’s 100 minute runtime.
The female protagonist’s tale is clearly a coming of age story which many of us are familiar with, except that it takes place in the 1960s. Based on an autobiographical memoir written by British journalist Lynn Barber, Nick Hornby (of About a Boy and High Fidelity fame) pens a screenplay that is fresh and appealing to the contemporary audience. The first thing which strikes you, however, is the fascinating charisma the filmmakers have managed to recreate for the film’s setting. On screen, the 1960s Britain is as pretty and romantic as Mulligan herself, and the allure adds a sophisticated and cultured touch to the entire production.
The storytelling is also honest and down to earth, because the filmmakers never resorted to flashy techniques and loud hysteria to attract the viewers. In this day and age of Hollywood blockbusters, it is revitalising to watch something as uncomplicated and sincere as this. If only we could convince you to pay more attention to Sarsgaad’s nuanced and perfect performance.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
This Code 3 DVD has quite a bit of extras, which makes it a worthy collection. The Commentary with Director Lone Scherfig and Actors Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaad is a lighthearted experience as the trio talk about recreating the era the film was set in. Through chuckles and delightful banter, hear them talk about the making of the movie. The Making of An Education is a nine minute featurette which has the filmmakers talking about how the film is a story of lost innocence. Is that a poster of About a Boy we see behind screenwriter Nick Hornby? Walking the Red Carpet brings you the glitz and glamour of the film’s screening at Egyptian Theatre at Hollywood Boulevard in eight minutes.
Included on the disc are also 11 Deleted Scenes totaling 16 minutes, the Theatrical Trailer and other Sony Pictures Trailers like Moon and Julie & Julia.
We do not have any complaints about visual transfer of the movie. It is presented in its original English audio soundtrack.
by John Li
Posted on 2 May 2010