I caught this movie while on a trans-Atlantic flight recently and loved it.
While 24-year-old Carey Mulligan is indeed ahead of the class, and, just like everyone said she would, reminds you of a young Audrey, it’s Alfred Molina who provides a lot of the warmth in this coming of age story set in a cold, suburban England of 1961. Molina, a talented British/Spanish/Italian actor who made a cheating, panzon Diego Rivera redemptive in Frida, manages to do the same for Jenny’s rigid father Jack, who pressures his teen daughter to go to Oxford, that is until she meets David, a potential sexual predator. Then all Jack wants to do is marry Jenny off because, well, that’s what women were supposed to aspire to back then.
The problem is Jenny is not just any young woman—she's a smart, sensitive girl who listens to Juliette Gréco and dreams of running away to Paris, where surely she’ll come across people whose eyes meet hers. The father-daughter scene in which Jack conveys that all he ever wanted was for Jenny to not have to work as hard as he did to have everything she needed is one of the movie’s most memorable moments. And it made me cry, because every tender father-daughter scene in a movie inevitably reminds me of my dad.
I’ve never expected anything less than the best from Molina, and in An Education he delivers.
If you still haven’t seen it, it’s out on DVD this week.