Movie Review: An Education

When I rented the film An Education, I expected it to kind of be like a moderner day version of Pride and Prejudice from the 1960s. Although it ended up being nothing like my favorite classic, it definitely touched on several important issues throughout the movie. It served as a reminder that you are your most important thing. People will come and go but you always have to live with yourself, so it's important, especially as women, to be self-supporting and create our own successes.
The movie is about Jenny, a mature and intelligent 16-year-old schoolgirl, who falls in love with an older man, David. As they continue to see each other, Jenny becomes enthralled with his world full of art, music, gambling, traveling and culture. As a young woman who was focused and adamant on going to Oxford to study English, she begins to doubt the point of her education as she thinks of a prospective life with David full of fun and leisure.

Unfortunately, all that glitters ain't gold, and Jenny shortly discovers after dropping out of school upon accepting David's marriage proposal that David is in fact already legally married to another woman. Jenny's attraction to the (seemingly) glamorous life and belief that she could take the easy way out by marrying David instead of constantly challenging herself at Oxford quickly comes back to slap her on the behind. After persuading her schoolmaster to allow her to come back to school, Jenny bulldozes through another year with regained unyielding focus and ends up being accepted into Oxford after all.

After the truth about David unfolds, he vanishes from her life as quickly as he entered it, and after having questioned the whole purpose of getting a higher education, the importance is reinstated in Jenny with a higher reverence. A defeated-feeling and heartbroken Jenny says,
“”I feel old, but not wise.”” While I understand why she feels like a fool for not being able to see through David's facade, I do believe that the experience ended up molding her in a positive way.

She is such a bright girl, and I think in a sense this traumatic experience was necessary for her to
come back with a new sense of determination, purpose and self-worth. She undoubtedly learned from her experience running with an adult crowd living on lies. It also goes to show that, even though one may be intellectually equal or superior to another who is older age wise, it's one's experiences and life lessons that are just as important in getting on in the world as unscathed as possible.

I actually really enjoyed this movie. It wasn't corny or unimaginable; it is realistic even by today's standards. Originally I pitied Jenny for losing her virginity to a man who was a liar and cheater, but then I realized that Jenny's biggest mistake was throwing away her previous desire to go to Oxford when she thought she could live an easy life off David. Luckily, Jenny's pride didn't get in the way of her seeking the help of her former English teacher to assist in persuading the schoolmaster to grant her permission to come back and finish high school. It was refreshing to see her own up to her mistake and bounce back from it. I also found it admirable that Jenny surprisingly handled everything with grace. Instead of giving up or sinking into depression, she truly acted as an adult and took responsibility for her actions.

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars