An Education (2009) Movie Review

By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Mark Twain once famously remarked, “I never let school interfere with my education.” Those are very wise words considering the fact that sometimes the greatest life lessons are learned outside of the classroom. That notion directly relates to one of the Best Picture nominees of 2009. Based on Lynn Barber’s memoir, An Education is a very unique love story that shows that life itself does not necessarily go by any academic textbook.

A Toast

An Education was not one of the most popular films of 2009, but it certainly was one of the best. It also received an Oscar-nomination for Nick Hornby’s adapted screenplay as well as one for the coveted Best Picture Oscar.

Carey Mulligan shines in her Oscar-nominated role as Jenny Mellor. She is able to honor Lynn Barber as a person while also making her character her own. Jenny is a very headstrong and independent woman who reveals the complexity of adolescence as teenagers transition from childhood to adulthood. Mulligan also highlights what it means to struggle to find oneself as she has to make difficult life-changing decisions, such as honoring her parents’ wishes while also finding herself. Jenny Mellor is ultimately a brilliantly realized character who really is her own woman. Besides Mulligan’s great performance, the film also features a great supporting cast that includes Dominic Cooper and Oscar-winner Emma Thompson.


An Education is a very special film because it educates audiences to learn more about themselves rather than solely rely on school to receive a proper education. David mentions early on in the film that he studies at “The University of Life,” which suggests that life itself really is the ultimate educator.

An Education (2009) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever French music is being played and whenever the characters speak French

Take a Drink: whenever the characters talk about Jenny’s potential future at Oxford

Drink a Shot: whenever Jenny offers very clever rebuttals to what her educators say to her. (i.c. The Headmistress says, “Nobody does anything worth doing without a degree,” and Jenny replies, “Nobody does anything worth doing WITH a degree. No woman anyway.”)

About Alex Phuong

Alex Andy Phuong earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University-Los Angeles in 2015. His love affair with cinema began after discovering Turner Classic Movies in the summer of 2004. His favorite film director is Woody Allen, and his favorite movie star is Kate Winslet.

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