He is creepy and she still goes to Oxford.
Hopefully my one sentence review of An Education is enough to keep you from trudging through it. When I scrolled through the list of Best Picture nominees from 2009, this was one of the films that stuck out as a dark horse in my mind. It has top billing for an underrated actor and it seemed to have just the right thematic elements to make it a winner. After finally getting around to watching it, I can say that none of this matters because it just doesn't pay off in anyway. Even the fact that the first huge chunk of the movie is pretty solid doesn't change that fact that it felt like a total waste of my time.
An Education is another one of those movies about a young, innocent girl with a bright future ahead of her falling for a creepy older dude who is really into her cello and boobs. This time around the girl, Carey Mulligan, has to decide if she should run off with her new man-friend, Peter Sarsgaard, or stick to high-school and go to Oxford. Aside from Sarsgard, the film has a few other recognizable faces, most notably Alfred Molina and Emma Thompson, and is directed by some chick name Lone Sherfig. The film was in various stages of development for several years before it was finally released to general success critically it was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Actress and Adapted Screenplay, but it won none of them. The film was definitely one of the more obscure nominations in the 2009 Oscar race and, after seeing it, I can understand why.
I can sum up my dislike for An Education very easily. The film is generally good up until the last five minutes. The vast majority of the film is a well written, nuanced piece of film-making that, while a little dull, is still interesting to watch. The viewer is given a lot of interesting plot points to think about and a lot of stuff seems to be building up to a strong, fascinating ending. The problem is that ending never comes. The end of An Education is absolutely horrid. Not only does it ignore most of the loose plot points, but the awkward message it sends and it's amateur voice over narration makes it one of the worst endings I have seen recently. I know the movie was based on a true story, but if the ending sucks this bad than don't bother making the movie. Sometimes people say that the journey is more important than the destination, but that doesn't always ring true for films. The journey here is often times interesting but the fact is has absolutely no baring on the final destination make An Education more frustrating than enjoyable.
There are a lot of movies out there like An Education. It's got some lovely film-making and performances, but by the end you just don't really know or care what the point of it all was. If I want to see a movie about a creepy old guy seducing a younger women I will go elsewhere to satisfy that itch. If I want to see a coming of age movie I will also go elsewhere. An Education is, simply, a movie that doesn't go anywhere and no one really likes to watch movies that don't go anywhere unless it's The Big Lebowski.