Last night I finally got around to seeing An Education (Directed by Lone Scherfig and Edited by Barney Pilling). I initially wanted to see it because of my fondness for late 50's and 60's period films or movies from that time. A great era in style if you ask me. This film is of course much more than wiggle dresses, gold lame or Knoll influenced furnishings. This film was indeed An Education. Some of the themes the film addresses are the dreams and impatience of youth. An age where we apply ourselves appropriately for the most part, or inappropriately. We sometimes make serious choices flippantly , having no real concept of their lasting consequences. Sometimes by chance or from actually listening to those wiser, some of our choices are for the betterment of our life. Sometimes however, youth is accompanied by headstrong determination and a desire for having it now instead of in due time, which can prove exciting but limited and even occasionally disastrous.
There are points in life where certain choices will set the course of one's life to an extent anyway. For instance education. That's where the main character finds herself at. A quandary between academic lessons and becoming (as her older seducer David, played by Peter Sarsgaard, puts it) a student of life. Although I admit in the 1960's the social status of a women was significantly different than it is now, this film is timeless.
There is a point in the script where the school girl Jenny , played by Carey Mulligan asks the school's headmistress, played by Emma Thompson, if she can repeat her last year of schooling. She admits she was wrong (to have left school under the illusion of engagement). She tells the headmistress "There are no short cuts". It's human to build our lives on a mix of applied and diligent effort and hopeful short cuts. It's the timing and nature of those short cuts that can be dangerous. That's part of what makes An Education so powerful.
Although I wasn't unknowingly engaged to a married older man at 17, I did make my share of impatient decisions (attempted short cuts) and as a result my life is different. Jenny's character also says "If you never do anything, you never become anyone." There's something to be said for that too, but in due time. Because when you get a little older, you realize that your definition of "doing anything" and "become anyone" changes - for the betterment of your life.