Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Carey Mulligan, in An Education
appromixately 68 minutes and 34 seconds
75.3% of the film

The film

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.
You can read my short review of the film just by clicking HERE.

An Education is a beautiful character-driven film, sharp, well-written, with very good acting all around. Carey Mulligan is the star of it all, as she gives a fantastic breakthrough performance.

Carey Mulligan as Jenny

An Education is all about falling in love with Carey Mulligan. With a screenplay focused so much on her character, Carey gets all the help she needs to give us a believable, relatable, deep performance. And she manages it; here is where youth, talent and limited experience actually help: the fact that she is new in the acting business increases the believability of her character’s actions and emotions. Can anyone argue the casting and the natural feeling of her performance?

Carey plays Jenny, a 1960s smart 16 year old dedicated to her studies and with a big dream of going to Oxford. But her convictions are challenged when she meets David, a charming richer man who introduces her to love, fun and society. Jenny’s dilemma is solved at the end of the film, but what’s more important is her emotional journey and Carey does a splendid job at making it all seem convincing and adequate.

I always got the feeling that Carey totally understands Jenny. We can imagine that’s not so hard to do, but it rarely is so dead on that you totally forget about the actress that IS acting [another great example this year: Gaby Sidibe]. I keep underlining this great achievement from Carey because it’s very important to me, for the performance to feel believable and more so relatable. Carey made Jenny very accessible and, as a big bonus point, also sweet, adorable, loveable.

This is also to the screenplay’s credit. The film is meant to be light, but the fact that it’s funny means even more opportunities for Carey to spin the performance. Carey understands good subtle comedy, so her witty lines are always delivered perfectly and with the right timing. Her girlie way of being is adorable and her funny giggle in the rain scene is a very effective idea.

It’s hard to pick scenes where she acts best because she’s so consistent all throughout the film. However, I’m not sure you can sustain a great performance without dramatic scenes. Again, Carey knows how far to go and never overplays the suffering emotions of Jenny. The final talk with David is heartbreaking, and so is the moment of solitude crying when her father expresses his regrets about everything. And let’s not forget the energetic scene she shares with Emma Thompson, when Jenny confronts the headmistress about the purpose of education. It’s such a difficult, wordy scene to play and Carey does it justice, to say the least.

When the film came up, many said a star is born. It’s hard to predict what’s gonna happen with her career and I doubt she’ll ever top this fabulous breakthrough performance, but Carey seems to have the versatility and character understanding to become the finest actress of her generation. Her performance as Jenny is so natural, believable, relatable and a great full achievement that I’m sure people will be talking about it many years from now, more than any other Oscar nominees of her category. My rating is obvious: .


Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...


Okay, cue me screaming like a psycho :)
Just kidding, but I do love the writeup. Carey is a talent to behold, and though (as I wrote in my review) her recent flick The Greatest is not worthy of her or Susan Sarandon she tries hard. I think she has a long way to go, of course beating this wonder will be a difficult task. Lovely writeup.

MrJeffery said...

love her performance. ugh, i want to forget the travesty that won best actress.

joe burns said...

Great writeup! She and Sidibe were so much better then the other nominees. Looking forward to your thoughts on Mirren.

Malcolm said...

I'm already excited in your ranking of the nominees this year!

Will you write about Mirren soon?

Alex in Movieland said...

as soon as I'll have The Last Station :)

Nigel said...

never has there been a better representation of adolescent illusions--->the whole film covered that theme perfectly.

Usually I like to argue that getting "An Education" is an economic construct that deceives people into giving up their lives...But then this movie allowed me to grow, thus eventually getting rid of that "adolescent illusion."

And come on, Bullock might just channel her new-found scorn (cheating boo) into her next role, thus delivering a performance that will cool everyone down. Yikes lol.

Anyway, good read.

joe burns said...

Here's what I think your ranking will be:

1. Mulligan

2. Sidibe

3. Streep

4. Bullock

5. Mirren

Michael Parsons said...

I will be interested how she goes forward in her career. Was this performance so good because she is so similar to the character? Can we expect more of the same? Or is she truly the next best thing?

I hope it is the latter, but Oi Vey the pressure!

Robert said...

Great write up!!! It reminds me how much I loved this performance :D

Malcolm said...

I just saw An Education last night and I agree with everything you say. She was fantastic! I'll write about the movie soon.