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An Education is based on a memoir by Lyn Barber who was sixteen years old in early Swinging Sixties England. It's a post war, pre Beatles, pro pill period when precocious school pupil Jenny falls for a charismatic older man. Sweeping her off her feet and hell bent on getting her horizontal, the older chap flatters and fibs to persuade her clueless parents to permit him to take her to Paris for her seventeenth birthday and initiate her in the art of amour.

This memoir has been made into a memorable movie due to a multitude of talents. Firstly, the screenplay by Nick Hornby, a celebrated author of novels that have inspired a succession of film makers, himself now finding inspiration in someone else's story and doing a first class job. Secondly, the choice of director Lone Scherfig, already acclaimed as one of the best of the Dogma school with her Italian For Beginners and quite correctly lauded for her first English language film Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself. And last, but not least, the chrystaline casting - Carey Mulligan as the lead character, Jenny, is nothing short of a revelation, bright with intelligence but naive and susceptible. If this does not launch her into the stratosphere of stardom there is something seriously wrong with the cinematic cosmos.

Peter Sarsgaard as the cad Jenny is mad for is terrific; his cohorts in cad and con Dominic Cooper and Rosamund Pike delicious, and as her caring yet clueless, duped yet endearing parents, king and queen kudos to Alfred Molina and Cara Seymour. And Emma Thompson, after her turn here as Jenny's school principal and her earlier appearance this year in The Boat That Rocked, gives clear and present notice that an Oscar for Best Cameo should be struck for next year's awards.

moviereview colin fraser film movie australia review critic flicks