**½/**** Image B Sound B+ Extras C
starring Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Rosamund Pike, Carey Mulligan
screenplay by Nick Hornby, based on the memoir by Lynn Barber
directed by Lone Scherfig
by Walter Chaw Director Lone Scherfig is perhaps notoriously the first woman to direct a Dogme95 picture (Italian for Beginners) and preserves her effortlessness with actors and light romantic imbroglios with An Education. Yet it shows little maturation, particularly after her scabrous, delicately balanced, Hal Ashby-esque Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself, instead regressing into the ghetto of only-adequate BBC coming-of-age story. If An Education is remembered at all, it will be for raising the profile of the immensely appealing Carey Mulligan. She's Jenny, a sharp, sensitive sixteen-year-old schoolgirl with a promising future in letters and eyes on Oxford until she's distracted by the allure of a bohemian lifestyle with pretentious friends, who pretend at the civilization she would rightfully earn in time. Leader of said bohemians is creepy/suave David (Peter Sarsgaard), whose courtship of Jenny is a laudable contrast to Twilight in showing a worldly older man using all the benefits of his experience to impress, and eventually deflower, an easily-exploited high-schooler with stars in her eyes.