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An Education

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lone Scherfig
Produced by Finola Dwyer
Amanda Posey
Douglas Hansen
Wendy Japhet
Jamie Laurenson
Caroline Levy
James D. Stern
David M. Thompson
Written by Nick Hornby
Lynn Barber (Memoir)
Starring Carey Mulligan
Peter Sarsgaard
Emma Thompson
Dominic Cooper
Olivia Williams
Alfred Molina
Rosamund Pike
Music by Paul Englishby
Cinematography John de Borman
Editing by Barney Pilling
Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics (USA)
Release date(s) 18 January 2009 (2009-01-18) (Sundance)
02009-10-30 30 October 2009
Running time 95 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $7.5 million[1]
Gross revenue $15,198,367[1]

An Education is a 2009 British coming-of-age drama film based on an autobiographical memoir of the same title written by the British journalist Lynn Barber. The film was directed by Lone Scherfig, with screenplay written by Nick Hornby, and features an ensemble cast including Emma Thompson, Peter Sarsgaard, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Olivia Williams and Carey Mulligan in the lead role.

An Education premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, gaining critical acclaim.[2] It screened on 10 September 2009 at the Toronto International Film Festival[3] and was featured at the Telluride by the Sea Film Festival in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on 19 September 2009.[4] The film was shown on 9 October 2009, at the Mill Valley Film Festival. It was released in the US on 16 October 2009 and in the UK on 30 October 2009. On 2 February 2010 it was announced that the film had received three Academy Award Nominations in the categories of Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay.[5]



In England in 1961, following a youth orchestra rehearsal, Jenny Mellor, a schoolgirl, is given a lift home by a charming older Jewish man, David Goldman. The two strike up a relationship, which includes David's business partner Danny, and Danny's vapid mistress, Helen. David manages to charm Jenny's protective parents into allowing him to take her to concerts, jazz clubs, and even to Paris.

Jenny finds out that David makes money by moving black families into flats near elderly women who are afraid of them, so he can then buy their flats cheaply. She also finds out that David and Danny steal valuable objects from houses that are for sale. On discovering this, Jenny is horrified and threatens to leave the relationship, but in the end she finds her new life so thrilling and enthralling that she chooses to overlook its darker side. After seeing Jenny dance with Danny, David hastily proposes marriage.

Her father agrees to the engagement, and Jenny drops out of school without taking her A-levels. While searching for cigarettes in David's glove compartment, Jenny finds a stack of letters addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. David Goldman". She demands that he tell her parents that he is already married, so she won't have to do it herself, but instead he drives off. Her old headmistress refuses to allow her to repeat her final year of school, so Jenny goes to the home of her favourite teacher, who helps her study and pass her A-levels. She is accepted to read English at Oxford, which had been her ambition before she met David.

The final scene shows her riding her bike on the streets of Oxford with a male student. Jenny narrates in the background: "So, I went to read English books, and did my best to avoid the speccy, spotty fate that Helen had predicted for me. I probably looked as wide-eyed, fresh, and artless as any other student...But I wasn't. One of the boys I went out with, and they really were boys, once asked me to go to Paris with him. And I told him I'd love to, I was dying to see Paris... as if I'd never been."


Mulligan during a Q&A following the screening of An Education at the Ryerson Theatre on 25 September 2009.




Nick Hornby created the screenplay based on an autobiographical essay by the British journalist Lynn Barber about her schoolgirl affair with conman Simon Prewalksi, known to her as Simon Green, which was published in the literary magazine Granta.[8][9] Barber's full memoir, An Education, was not published in book form until June 2009, when filming had already been completed. Hornby said that what appealed to him in the memoir was that "She's a suburban girl who's frightened that she's going to get cut out of everything good that happens in the city. That, to me, is a big story in popular culture. It's the story of pretty much every rock 'n' roll band."[10] Although the screenplay involved Hornby writing about a young teenage girl, he did not feel it was more challenging than writing any other character: "I think the moment you're writing about somebody who's not exactly you, then the challenge is all equal. I was glad that everyone around me on this movie was a woman so that they could watch me carefully. But I don't remember anyone saying to me, 'That isn't how women think.'"[10]


Although Jenny's family home and her school are supposed to be in the suburb of Twickenham, Middlesex, the residential scenes featured in the film were shot on location in the Gunnersbury area of Ealing, West London as well as Mattock Lane in West Ealing and The Japanese School in Acton which used to be a girls' school called Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls[11]. The area is convincingly arranged to appear as it would look like in the 1960s, with the only noticeable exception being the 1990s period street lighting. However there are several other anachronistic errors, such as a Police two-tone horn at a time when bells were still used and skirt lengths and hairstyles of the schoolgirls. St John's Smith Square was not opened as a concert hall until 1969. There is also an error made when Jenny is admitted by Oxford University (admission is to colleges, not the University.) Later on in the film, the scene in which Jenny encounters David Goldman's wife outside her suburban home appears to be shot in the Woodside Park area of North London. At one point Jenny uses the "double is", a grammatical error which caught on only in the 1990s.


The film currently holds a 94% 'Fresh' rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 164 critics' reviews.[12] On Metacritic it holds an 85 rating based on 34 reviews.[13]

An Education won the Audience Choice award and the Cinematography award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.[6] Mulligan won a Hollywood Film Festival award for Best Hollywood Breakthrough Performance for a Female.[6] It was selected Sight & Sound's film of the month.

Awards ceremony Category Subject Result
82nd Academy Awards Academy Award for Best Picture Nominated
Academy Award for Best Actress Carey Mulligan Nominated
Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay Nick Hornby Nominated
63rd British Academy Film Awards BAFTA Award for Best Film Nominated
BAFTA Award for Outstanding British Film Nominated
BAFTA Award for Best Direction Lone Scherfig Nominated
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role Carey Mulligan Won
BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay Nick Hornby Nominated
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role Alfred Molina Nominated
BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design Odile Dicks-Mireaux Nominated
BAFTA Award for Best Makeup and Hair Lizzie Yianni Georgiou Nominated
British Independent Film Awards[14] Best British Independent Film Nominated
Best Director of a British Independent Film Lone Scherfig Nominated
Best Screenplay Nick Hornby Nominated
Best Performance by an Actress in a British Independent Film Carey Mulligan Won
Best Supporting Actress Rosamund Pike Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Alfred Molina Nominated
Critics Choice Awards[15] Best Picture Nominated
Best Actress Carey Mulligan Nominated
Best Screenplay Nick Hornby Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Alfred Molina Nominated
67th Golden Globe Awards Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Carey Mulligan Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards Independent Spirit Award for Best Foreign Film Pending
London Film Critics' Circle Best British Film of the Year Nominated
Best Actress of the Year Carey Mulligan Nominated
Best British Actress of the Year Carey Mulligan Won
Best British Supporting Actress of the Year Rosamund Pike Nominated
Best British Supporting Actress of the Year Olivia Williams Nominated
Best British Supporting Actor of the Year Alfred Molina Nominated
National Board of Review Awards 2009 National Board of Review: Top Ten Films Won
National Board of Review Award for Best Actress Carey Mulligan Won
Satellite Awards[16] Best Film - Drama Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Nick Hornby Nominated
Best Director Lone Scherfig Nominated
Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama Carey Mulligan Nominated
Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture Alfred Molina Nominated
2009 Sundance Film Festival World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic Won
World Cinema Cinematography Award: Dramatic John De Borman Won
Grand Jury Prize: World Cinema Dramatic Nominated

DVD Release confirmed that it will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray on 30 March 2010.


  1. ^ a b "An Education (2009)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  2. ^ Sundance unveils competition lineup
  3. ^ Lambert, Christine (2009), "An Education premiere at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival",,, retrieved 2009-12-11 
  4. ^ Telluride by the Sea
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Archie Thomas (February 20, 2008). "Bloom, Molina, Hawkins join 'Education'". Variety. Retrieved May 23, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Orlando Bloom Drops Out of Education". March 17, 2008. Retrieved May 23, 2008. 
  8. ^ An edited extract from the introduction to An Education: The Screenplay by Nick Hornby (Penguin)
  9. ^ "An Education" by Lynn Barber, Granta 82, published Summer 2003, pages 203-223
  10. ^ a b Christy Grosz Nick Hornby takes pen to screen with 'An Education' Los Angeles Times. September 13, 2009. Retrieved September 14, 2009.
  11. ^ "Educating Lynn: take one". The Observer June 8, 2008. Retrieved November 23, 2009. 
  12. ^ "An Education (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 28, 2009. 
  13. ^ "An Education Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 28, 2009. 
  14. ^ AA (2009-12-03). "BIFA 2009 Nominations =BIFA". Retrieved 2009-12-03. 
  15. ^ AA (2009-12-16). "2009/2010 Nominations for An Education =IMDB". Retrieved 2009-12-15. 
  16. ^ AA (2009-12-04). "Satellite 2009 Nominations =The LA Times". Retrieved 2009-12-03. 

External links


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