Carey Mulligan always used to seem like an actor teetering on the very brink of stardom, but with this film she finally made it, giving a wonderful performance. She plays a bright eyed young Oxbridge hopeful, who is cramming in as much studying as she can for her big exams. But when she meets smooth talking stranger Simon (Peter Sarsgaard), her takes an altogether different turn. Parties, high culture and posh auctions beckon, and seem far more attractive than a night revising Latin verbs.
Sarsgaard is flawlessly English (a rare talent in an American actor) and gives Nick Hornby’s dialogue a polished feel. The whole thing is simply sparkling with life, giving off an evocative sense of Britain rising from its rough days in the Second World War to the bright-eyed light of the Sixties. Although a late twist reveals an uneasy undertone, this is for the most part the true meaning of a “feel-good movie”. You can’t help smiling throughout. Catch it before it disappears (all too quickly) off cinema screens.
An Education (2009), released in UK cinemas in 2009, is available on Blu-ray disc and DVD from Entertainment One, Certificate 12.