Wednesday, May 5, 2010
A Movie to See: An Education
An Education takes us on a journey with Jenny, an English schoolgirl, who is "very clever" and dreams in French. I don't want to spoil this coming-of-age story, but I will say Carey Mulligan practically effervesces off the screen. Listening to her talk about a new singer she discovered or art she likes made me think of the fervor and conviction I had as a teenager that seems to get burnished away with time.
I liked that this story also gave us examples of women toeing the lines of their "proper places" in society. Miss Stubbs, Jenny's English teacher, seems textbook in her appearance and demeanor as a teacher, but we come to find out she is single by choice and a world traveler. Helen, Jenny's compatriot on her jaunts with her new beau, doesn't test the waters of truth, but chooses to drink greedily from the seemingly bottomless glass of that in-between world of mistress and girlfriend. Even Jenny's mother, who seems conventional in her role, shows a backbone and opinion, bending her husband sweetly to her decisions.
Jenny, herself, tests the waters of a non-conventional lifestyle and while she admits she "feels old," she doesn't "feel very wise." This line embodies the spirit of the film: of growing up and growing in to the new roles allowed to women by society. Do I agree with the definite lines drawn around the roles for women in this film? Of course not. But, do I identify with the excitement and wonder discovery and growing up can entail? Of course.