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An Education (2009)

PG-13 | | Drama | 5 February 2010 (USA)
2:24 | Trailer

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A coming-of-age story about a teenage girl in 1960s suburban London, and how her life changes with the arrival of a playboy nearly twice her age.



(memoir), (screenplay)
2,948 ( 485)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 35 wins & 91 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
William Melling ...
Small Boy
Small Boy
Amanda Fairbank-Hynes ...
Nick Sampson ...
Latin Teacher (as Kate Duchene)
Bel Parker ...
Small Girl


In the early 1960's, sixteen year old Jenny Mellor lives with her parents in the London suburb of Twickenham. On her father's wishes, everything that Jenny does is in the sole pursuit of being accepted into Oxford, as he wants her to have a better life than he. Jenny is bright, pretty, hard working but also naturally gifted. The only problems her father may perceive in her life is her issue with learning Latin, and her dating a boy named Graham, who is nice but socially awkward. Jenny's life changes after she meets David Goldman, a man over twice her age. David goes out of his way to show Jenny and her family that his interest in her is not improper and that he wants solely to expose her to cultural activities which she enjoys. Jenny quickly gets accustomed to the life to which David and his constant companions, Danny and Helen, have shown her, and Jenny and David's relationship does move into becoming a romantic one. However, Jenny slowly learns more about David, and by association ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Innocence of the Young.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving sexual content, and for smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

5 February 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Enseñanza de vida  »

Box Office


£4,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$159,017 (USA) (9 October 2009)


$12,574,715 (USA) (2 May 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The author of the original account, Lynn Barber stipulated in her contract that she would be allowed to see and comment (but not alter) every draft written by the screenwriter, Nick Hornby. She mentioned that she was happy with most of the changes, but her one regret was that Hornby changed the name of her lover, Simon, to David, which was her real husband's name. She stated that "I wish in retrospect I'd put up a fight". See more »


When Jenny is in her room crying after finding out about David, her father is talking to her behind her room's closed door and says "there's a cup of tea & some Biscuits out here" but if you look closely into the cup it's not tea it's most probably coffee or Chocolate Milk. See more »


[first lines]
Miss Stubbs: Come on, girls. Anybody?
Miss Stubbs: Anybody else?
Miss Stubbs: Jenny again.
Jenny: Isn't it because Mr. Rochester's blind?
Miss Stubbs: Yes, Jenny.
See more »


Referenced in Travelogue of the Dead: On the Rhodes Again (2010) See more »


A Sunday Kind of Love
Written by Barbara Bell, Louis Prima, Anita Leonard and Stan Rhodes
Performed by Beth Rowley
See more »

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User Reviews

Poster child for pretension
28 November 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

An Education tries hard but is ultimately a pointless bore. It’s hardly entertaining to watch pretentious, better-than-you Brits fall madly in love despite treachery and criminal intent. In the end, you don’t really feel sympathy toward any of the characters, which makes the whole enterprise a meaningless distraction.

Young Jenny (Carey Mulligan) aspires to go to Oxford and study English, under much pressure from her dad (Alfred Molina). Suddenly, into her life comes a much-older man, David (Peter Sarsgaard), who’s worldly and rich and just plain wonderful in every possible way. Soon he’s swept Jenny off her feet, thus replacing her ambitions with visions of living in Paris and having fun. At first her family will have none of it, but David smooth talks them into going along.

I’m not sure exactly when the movie started to lose its luster for me, but it didn’t take very long. The trouble is that neither Jenny nor David is particularly likable, when you get right down to it. Take Jenny, our protagonist. She’s super smart – getting high marks in everything but Latin – and full of poise and maturity, but she’s a complete and utter moron when it comes to David. Making bad decisions won’t gain my sympathy unless those decisions seemed logical for the character at the time. For instance, we can see how Jenny would make the decisions she made if she were in love (which she was) and kind of dumb and naive (which she was not). The fact that she was presented as an intelligent, mature-for-her-age classical cellist (albeit one in high school) should have precluded her bad decision making to some degree. I won’t dare give away what decisions she makes, but there are a few of them, and they seem ludicrous.

David’s pals, Danny and Helen, are also rich knuckleheads to whom there’s more than meets the eye. But once you see what’s beneath their sneering veneer (not really, that just sounded nice), you realize the characters are too shallow for you to care about, in any event. Helen’s character in particular is meant to be sort of a foil to Jenny’s (i.e., she’s secretly jealous of the ingénue), but this simple premise is barely hinted at, let alone followed up on. And get this – Helen is supposed to be the comic relief of the crew (she’s dumb), but her jokes are entirely unfunny and inconsequential.

Few things are as dull as seeing well-off people whine about their lives, or play smug cads. Instead of really drawing me into the world of Jenny and her family and friends, I was completely put off by the vapid, predictable story. Mulligan (who looks a lot like Katie Holmes) is not bad at all, although her scenes with Sarsgaard (she’s 22 in real life, but she’s playing a 16 year old here) come off pretty creepy. Alfred Molina easily steals every scene he’s in.

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