An Education reminds me a little of those comedies where teenagers spend most of the movie doing dumb things, yet everything works out all right in the end. The difference is that this is a lot smarter and more believable.
The story (loosely based on an autobiographical essay be British journalist Lynn Barber) begins in London in 1961. Jenny (Carey Mulligan) is a 16-year-old schoolgirl. She’s clever and talented and bored with her life and the people around her.
She is thrilled when she meets David (Peter Sarsgaard), a charming and good-looking (though somewhat oily) older man. He takes her to places where she has never been, to a sophisticated world of concerts and fancy restaurants and nightclubs. She watches with bemusement as he cons her parents (Alfred Molina and Cara Seymour) who are ambitious but rather dim.
Jenny is not dim, and she can see that David is dishonest, but she doesn’t care. She’s caught up in the thrill of it all and impatient with suggestions that she may be jeopardizing her future. In fact she gets few warnings since most people are charmed by David.
Still this is basically a comedy and things don’t end as badly as they might have.