Monday, November 16, 2009

10 Initial Thoughts on An Education

Warning: This post is about my thoughts on the film, and thus will contain spoilers.
1. The opening title sequence surprised me, it created a playful lightheartedness. I think I like it, but I'm not completely sure why. Perhaps it helps connect the surprisingly creative/appropriate title of the film.

2. As the storyline unfolds I got a little bit of a knot in my stomach. I feel like so many dramatic films I've seen recently build up to this over the top shock-value sort of climax that it was nice that this story, although dramatic and with surprises never had one of those over-the-top moments. It felt more real, perhaps that has something to do with it being based on a a memoir. Nick Hornby did a great job as this film's screenwriter as well.

3. I love how this film is "clean." While it deals with some mature subject matters, it's not one that would make you feel squirmy watching with your grandparents. The absence of violence, nudity, and language in a film for adults is a nice treat.

4. I liked how the film took place in London, but I didn't feel like I needed subtitles to understand their British accents.

5. Carey Mulligan is phenomenal and deserves the praise lavished on her. By far my favorite scene with Mulligan was were she confronts Emma Thompson's character and with fear and power confronts the head master. The layering of emotions in that scene was excellent.

6. Praise is really not just for Carey Mulligan this is truly an excellently crafted ensemble. I don't know if praise is best placed on the casting director or the individual performers.

7. If I were to praise the individual performers, I would have to praise Carey Mulligan, Alfred Molina, Peter Sarsgaard, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Olivia Williams, and Cara Seymour.

8. Rosamund Pike has such a distinct look and played the role of Helen so well. She plays her "blond" character pitch perfect. I hope to see her in more roles. Speaking of which I'm definitely interested in rewatching Pride & Prejudice again to see Mulligan and Pike in action as sisters alongside Keira Knightley.

9. This film was the type of film that spurs a number of conversations. It was the type of film that in it's complex and simple characters hits on so many real ideas and concepts. My wife and I did not find ourselves short of conversational subjects related to this film. I was most interested in concepts relating to persuasion and our own ability to think we are smart enough to make wise decisions and shrug off logic and conventional wisdom. I loved the way that Jenny (and other characters as well) were not push overs but still ended up being deceived. My wife was most interested in topics relating to womanhood and education.

10. I hope people see Lone Scherfig's film. It's a film worth watching and discussing. It was worth the anticipation and is a welcome addition to this year's film scene.


Jandy Stone said...

Great thoughts - I totally agree with everything.

The thing that hit me the most in thinking about the film later was kind of like your #9 - the film is so simple on the surface, but yet so complex when you start delving into it. Mulligan puts a lot of complexity in Jenny with her startlingly good performance, but just the way the rest of ensemble interacts and complements each other, too. It's easy to point out that a lot of the characters are "types" - Sarsgaard's smooth-yet-kinda-sleazy guy, Pike's shallow blonde, Cooper's materialistic art-lover, Molina's well-meaning but short-sighted father - but there's always something surprising about them, not just in the character themselves, but the way they work together to create such a perfect GROUP of people to surround Jenny. They never feel one-dimensional, even though you can tell what role they're meant to play in her life and "education."

Andrew K. said...

Glad you liked this. You should rewatch P&P...although Carey is not that big a part, those ensemble scenes with the Bennett girls are nice. And Rosamund was lovely along Keira in that. I am waiting anxiously for this to reach here,

Michael Parsons said...

Be very curious to see what you think of 'Precious'

Michael Parsons said...

Rewatched P&P last night. Carey was horrendous in the film, but I think that was the part. Her and Jenna Malone did nothing but giggle.

Rosamund was wonderful