Rising talent and future Academy Award winner Carey Mulligan received her first nomination for playing Jenny, a very clever English schoolgirl, who plans to go to Oxford, but eventually falls in love with a much older, but charming man, who turns out to be different from what she thought. Jenny is an well-written character with not as many opportunities as one would think, however Carey Mulligan was able to charm audiences and critics, who often called her the next Audrey Hepburn. After all this is a star-is-born performance with all of its advantages and disadvantages.
An Education is a fairy enjoyable, but also a tiny bit clichéd movie about the 60s and although it seems as if the Organization of Teachers ordered it, you can get something out of it and is worth watching mostly because of the excellent performances of the cast. And here I must underline the performances of Rosamund Pike and Alfred Molina who truly stand out even in the shadow of our rising star. The screenplay is also well-written and of good quality, even though it's a bit conventional.
I really don't get the comparison with Audrey Hepburn as this performance is quite different from what Hepburn did in her movies and also they don't really look like each other. The only common thing between them is probably the subtlety and grace with which they handle their characters. Mulligan created a breathing, truly living character, which cannot be compared to anything we've ever seen. A great actor is known for being unique, and Mulligan has a lot of potential and possibilities to become a leading star.
The first time I saw An Education, I wasn't that impressed by Mulligan as I found nothing challenging or hard about her role. But time has proven me wrong and I was simply mesmerized this time. She handles this character with the dignity of a queen, simply like a great and experienced actress. The way she catches the insecurities of this young girl, the embarassed little giggling, the joy she feels when she gets introduced to this new world. It's actually a fascinating character study, done very wisely and confidently. Actually, it takes some time to completely warm up to it, however, it's still an amazing feat.
Even in the first scenes, we see a hard-working, blooming young girl having a plain and boring life in the 60s. And her transformation could be compared to flowering. Mulligan slowly, but (again) confidently shows all the dimensions of this exciting character which seems one dimensional at first sight. However it is really-really three dimensional, real person.
And again she immediatly wins our simpathy. I was so moved and shocked when I saw the scene when she knows the whole truth. It's probably as close to cathartic as a performance can be. Mulligan's star power can be seen so easily, you really think that this girl was born to do this role. Not to mention the humor she also puts into this performance: Jenny is an ironic girl, but Mulligan never exaggerates this, she perfectly finds the balanced.
Contrary to Gabby Sidibe, here I did not feel that this is her first serious role. Mulligan solves everything with grace and amazing naturality, I can't say enough times how amazing she really is. As I'm going towards the end of this review, I can get the comparison with Audrey Hepburn and I even go further and don't send me to hell immediately: Mulligan's going to be an even better actress as she relies her acting chops way more than her charm.
So, to sum up, this is a terrific, beautiful and even poetic performance by a rising beauty. Who's sure to become a marvellous and acclaimed actress. Fantastic.
Now, we have got to the end. The final conclusion is due tomorrow. I hope you're excited and I'm eager to see your predictions of my ranking. I'm not very sure about it either. :)