The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Classic Pictures - 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 100 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
Starring: Peter Sarsgaard, Carey Mulligan, Alfred Molina, Rosamund Pike, Dominic Cooper, Olivia Williams, Emma Thompson
Directed by: Lone Scherfig
Music by: Paul Englishby
Written by: Nick Hornby
Region Code: A,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 30, 2010
"A girl beyond her years, meets a man beyond his boundaries"
Jenny (Carey Mulligan), a bright young school girl who longs for adulthood, meets David (Peter Sarsgaard), a dashing older man, he introduces her to his vibrant world of glamorous friends, chic jazz clubs and her own sexual awakening. Will she let this affair ruin her dreams of attending Oxford? This captivating film sparkles with the wit, charm and style of 1960s Britain.
An education is a coming of age film that takes place in London in the early 1960’s. 16 year old Jenny is an excellent student and is on track to achieve her goal of studying at Oxford. She is an only child and her parents have definitive ideas about her direction in life. Her father can be insufferable but he loves his daughter. He follows Jenny’s academics closely and pushes her to excel. Jenny’s mother wants what’s best for her and silently follows her father’s lead. Jenny is strong willed and bright. She finds her life to be boring and loves to escape by listening to French jazz and dreaming of one day going to Paris. On a chilly rainy evening a charming older man, David (Sarsgaard), approaches Jenny on the street and offers her and her cello a ride home. After a bit or reluctance and playful banter she accepts. Jenny is immediately smitten by David. The next day David leaves her a bouquet of flowers, wishing her luck, before her school concert that evening. Her parents question her about who this mystery man is but she expertly puts them off. Jenny boasts about David to her friends and bumps into him in town the following day. He then asks her to accompany him to a classical music performance followed by dinner. She wants to go but informs him that her parents won’t allow it. David insists that he will speak to them and that afterward they will let her go. She mentions it and father of course won’t hear of it. David arrives and after only a few minutes not only has permission to take Jenny but coaxes his way into brining her home after her father’s imposed curfew. David and Jenny meet Danny and Helen, friends of David’s, and the four of them attend the concert and later go to a jazz club. Jenny finds their company and free lifestyle invigorating. David encourages her to live life to the fullest and mentions an upcoming trip that he Danny and Helen are planning to Paris. He invites her to go along and helps concoct a story to convince her parents to allow her to go. Jenny becomes enthralled with the idea and the word about it and her relationship with David spreads around school. Her teacher discourages the idea and encourages Jenny to remain focused on her studies and Oxford. Jenny begins to see a life filled with learning from books to pale in comparison to the experiences that can be gained by living it now. This clouds her perspective and she loses interest in school. This is exacerbated by the attention she receives from David and the one sided view she has of the world outside of her limited experience. Ultimately she comes to learn that life and people aren’t always what they seem and that perhaps the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
I thought this was an decent dramatic film about the loss of innocence and a young girl’s first experience with romance, regret and bitter disappointment. I must confess that I didn’t like it as much as I expected. 1960’s or not I found the lack or parenting by Jenny’s mother and father to be less than realistic. As a parent with teenagers there would be no way my daughter or son would be allowed to associate with, let alone date, someone that was David’s age. It seemed like the educators at Jenny’s school had more of an interest in her future than her folks.
The rating is for mature thematic material involving sexual content and smoking.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
An education comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio that has an average bitrate of 3.8 mbps.
Colors are effectively used in this film to help set the tone/setting based upon the mood of the scene and characters within it. The chroma range isn’t diverse but hues can vary from being sullen and inanimate to warm and inviting. Skin tones are appropriately bland with natural highlights and descriptive variation. Images onscreen were exquisitely detailed and sharp with superb depth of field and visible texture during wide angle shots. Contrast was strong and blacks were deep with revealing delineation that provided excellent perceptibility during scenes shot at night or in lower lighting. The video had a clean, pristine quality that enhanced dimensionality and provided a looking through a window effect. The lossless audio soundtrack capably delivered the elements within the recording and sounding fine. High level detail provided plenty of depth and audible texture to voices. Subtle background sounds within the soundfield were clearly audible. Being a film driven predominantly by dialogue didn’t afford this mix a lot of opportunities for active surround sound. Its use was primarily to create ambient environmental sounds and provide more envelopment for the music score. The subwoofer added sporadic low frequency effects which lent weight to the music featured in the film.
- Commentary with director Lone Scherfig & actors Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard
- The making of An education – 9 minute featurette
- (HD) Walking the red carpet – 8 minute feature
- 11 deleted scenes
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- BD-Live enabled
An education is an enjoyable coming of age style drama that revolves around a teenage girl that feels her life offers little reward until she meets a charming and beguiling older man that shows her a more mature and exciting world outside of her own. For this she is willing to sacrifice her education and the opportunity to study at Oxford. Ultimately she comes to learn that life and people aren’t always what they seem and that perhaps the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Nominated for an Academy Award (plus a Best Actress nomination for Carey Mulligan) this is a well acted and directed film that didn’t resonate as deeply as I had hoped but was enjoyable nonetheless. Sony is decidedly consistent in the excellent audio/video quality of their offerings on Blu-ray Disc and this presentation is no different as it features crisp high definition video and crystal clear lossless sound. The supplied bonus material includes a decent commentary track and behind the scenes making of feature that are worth checking out. If you’re a fan this is worth collecting otherwise it makes for a good rental on movie night.
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