Jerry Coyne of the University of Chicago calls An Education a “don’t-miss film”:
[T]his gets my vote for the best movie of 2009 and one of the best of the last few years: An Education. Based on a true story, directed by Lone Scherfig, and with a wonderful screenplay by author Nick Hornby, it’s a coming-of-age drama set in Twickenham, London in 1961. Jenny, played by Carey Mulligan, is an Oxford-bound 16-year-old whose academic plans are derailed by romance with a man twice her age. Mulligan’s performance is simply outstanding, and should have won her an Oscar; it’s far better than the winning but over-the-top “I’m-a-heroine”performance of Sandra Bullock in the manipulative Blind Side. The other actors also turn in superb performances, particularly the “older man,” played by Peter Saarsgard, and Jenny’s parents, played by Alfred Molina and Cara Seymour. Emma Thompson, one of my favorites, makes a cameo appearance as Jenny’s headmistress.
Having small kids, I’ve not done well keeping up with films the past couple several years, but with Coyne enthusing about this particular movie, and the positive reviews posted at RottenTomatoes (the film gets a 94 out of 100 on the “Tomatometer”), I decided I’d at least get the DVD. At RottenTomatoes, one of my favorite films of all time, Amelie, only yields a 90 on the Tomatometer, so perhaps An Education really is unusually special. Coyne knows his evolution, but does he know his movies?
I’ll offer an opinion anon.