[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/aneducation_6300.jpg]]

A 2009 British {{coming of age}} {{drama}} film, set in [[TheSixties 1961]] UsefulNotes/{{London}}.

Sixteen-year-old Jenny (Creator/CareyMulligan) is attending school, preparing for her A-levels and hoping to go to Oxford. One day, she meets an older man named David (Peter Sarsgaard), who charms her into a romance, distracting from her schoolwork. David introduces her to a whole new world out of her little suburb--a world of nightclubs, auctions for beautiful paintings, racing, and romance. Jenny soon has to make a choice between the academic world she's always prepared for--and the world of ''fun.''

But little does she know how much David is [[BeneathTheMask hiding]]...

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!!This film provides examples of:

* AllThatGlitters: Nearing the climax of the film, [[spoiler:Jenny chooses to take the easy way out by dropping out of school and marrying David. However, it is revealed that David is already married, and he runs out on Jenny when she finds out.]]
* AscendedFangirl: When David takes Jenny to Paris.
* BeneathTheMask
* BetaCouple: Helen and Danny.
* BittersweetEnding[=/=]EarnYourHappyEnding: [[spoiler:David turns out to be a lying scumbag, and Jenny finds herself without her test results and without an admittance letter to Oxford. She chooses to work hard to get there despite it all, gets accepted, and moves on to what looks like a pleasant and accomplished life.]]
* BrainyBrunette Jenny is a genuine smart cookie. This is a contrast to DumbBlonde Helen.
* BreakTheCutie
* BumblingDad: Just a tad bit.
* ButtMonkey: Graham, whom Jenny's father refers to as a "wandering Jew" (whether [[AmbiguouslyJewish he's actually a Jew]] is beside the point). Overlaps with TheWoobie.
* BridalCarry: David and Jenny shortly before [[spoiler:she gives him her virginity.]]
* ChekhovsClassroom: The discussions of ''Literature/JaneEyre'' in Jenny's English class.
* ChekhovsGun:
** David's letters in the glove compartment of his car are shown several times before it's importance is revealed.
** David helps out a black family move into an apartment. Jenny sees an old woman looking out of the window. Both are plot-relevant.
* TheCharmer[=/=]ChivalrousPervert: David has signs of both.
* ChristmasCake: Miss Stubbs. And Jenny rubs her face in it.
* ComingOfAgeStory
* ContrivedCoincidence: Jenny meeting David. [[spoiler:Not so much when it's revealed he actually lives down the street from her.]]
* DanceOfRomance: David and Jenny waltzing in the street and later in Paris.
* DawsonCasting: 20-something Carey Mulligan as 16-year-old Jenny.
* DidNotGetTheGirl
* DoggedNiceGuy: Graham.
* DoubleEntendre: When Jenny expresses an interest in seeing France, David replies that he'd love to take her, and there's "so much" he wants her to see. Cue Danny and Helen exchanging an uncomfortable glance.
* DumbBlonde: Helen.
* [[EducationMama Education Papa]]: Jenny's dad. He approves of Jenny's intentions of going to Oxford, and he pressures her even more to study and work on her dream. Ideally, she should be only studying and improving her Latin, and as far as music goes, her playing the violin is just fine, none of the French modern music nonsense! He simply doesn't want her to be distracted by anything inappropriate. However, he's also fairly kind and understanding, and Jenny's mom knows how to influence him.
* {{Escapism}}
* EverybodyKnewAlready: Rather, they didn't even ''try'' to keep it a secret. Seriously, when your headmistress knows [[spoiler:not only that you are planning on losing your virginity, but when, to whom, and roughly ''where'',]] you are doing something very wrong.
* ExpositoryHairstyleChange: Jenny wears her hair in sophisticated updos when she's with David and his friends, but goes back to her usual girlish hairstyle--representing the fact that for all her attempts at seeming grown-up, that she is still really a child--both when she's at home or at school, and once she discovers his deception and the relationship ends.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Frequent discussion of ''Literature/JaneEyre'' in Jenny's English class. [[spoiler:Mr. Rochester was keeping his wife a secret as well.]]
* [[spoiler:FourthDateMarriage: Within roughly weeks (if not months), David pops the question to Jenny.]]
* GratuitousFrench: Used often by Jenny, out of the blue and [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] bluntly by Helen:
-->'''Helen:''' You have a French conversation teacher? Is that why you suddenly speak French? For no reason?
* GreenEyedMonster: David claims Danny is this when he doesn't seem too pleased by [[spoiler:Jenny's engagement to David]]; Danny just didn't want Jenny to get hurt because both Helen and he knew [[spoiler:that David was already married.]]
* HardWorkMontage
* HorribleJudgeOfCharacter: Even after learning of David's shady business, Jenny continues to be strung along by David until the climax. Her father also, as he admits that he heard something that should have tipped him off to the fact that David wasn't completely honest, but he chose to ignore it, having himself been so drawn in by David's flashy lifestyle.
* IJustWantToBeSpecial: Jenny is attracted to David and his adventurous life, full of concerts, jazz music, and parties, in comparison to her apparent "boring" life, full of attending school, studying for Oxford, and reading Latin.
* IronicEcho: Of sorts. David takes Jenny to Paris, a place she has always wanted to go to, as she loves French books, films, and music. [[spoiler:At the end of the film, Jenny's boyfriend said he wants to take her to Paris, and Jenny narrates that she acted surprised, as if she had never been there before.]]
* JewishAndNerdy[=/=]NiceJewishBoy: Graham. That is, if he's [[AmbiguouslyJewish really Jewish]].
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler:David, though a DeletedScene in which he encounters Jenny at Oxford shows that his thieving ways finally caught up with him and that he spent some time in prison]]
* {{Leitmotif}}: A recurring [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RztnZAygXxs&feature=related theme]] played throughout the film plays hints to David and his schemes.
* LeftTheBackgroundMusicOn: Whenever a French song plays in the background, it's most likely this.
* ManicPixieDreamGirl: David is a gender-flipped version for Jenny. [[spoiler:Later deconstructed, when it turns out that David is not all that he seems.]]
* MomentKiller: [[ItMakesSenseInContext The banana]].
* MoodWhiplash: Several scenes. Often, whenever the music changes tone is a hint to David's shady schemes.
* MotiveDecay: An in-universe example. Jenny wants to attend Oxford so that she can study and read English. After being exposed to David and his much more attractive life (and at the approval of her parents), Jenny gives this up [[spoiler:to marry David, as he can already give her the life she has always wanted.]] This decision comes back to bite her.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: [[spoiler:When Jenny discovers that David is a married man, she is devastated, as she dropped out of school and didn't take her A-levels, to be with him.]]
* NeverTrustATrailer: The segment that the trailer showed of Emma Thompson's character made her seem like a rather stern but not unkind mentor--"You must think I'm a ruined woman." "Oh, no. You're not a woman." Not so in the actual movie.
* OneDialogueTwoConversations: While Jenny and Danny are dancing, they have a discussion about art. Or at least, this is what Jenny thinks. Danny is really subtly warning Jenny that David isn't what he seems.
* OverprotectiveDad: Jenny's dad obviously dislikes Jenny's suitor Graham and is initially a bit wary of David, but David's charm easily persuades him.
* PlayingAgainstType:
** Emma Thompson appears as a ruthless and anti-Semitic schoolmistress.
** Rosamund Pike as DumbBlonde Helen is a particularly odd example, not just because Pike normally plays intelligent [[IceQueen ice queens]], but because in real life Rosamund Pike basically ''is'' who Jenny wants to be (trained cellist, bilingual in French, and studied English Literature at Oxford).
* PlotSensitiveSnoopingSkills
* PluckyGirl
* TheReveal: [[spoiler:David is married.]]
* SpoiledSweet: Though Helen can be quite blunt at times, she becomes fast friends with Jenny and is relatively nice to her.
* [[spoiler:StalkerWithACrush: Assumed, but not intended. In the final scene with Jenny and her new boyfriend biking around the Oxford campus, David's car can be seen parked on the side of the street. This is remnant from the [[WhatCouldHaveBeen longer original ending]] in which David tries to win Jenny back. Carey Mulligan and director Lone Scherfig joke on the DVD commentary that only a few people actually catch this on the first viewing and those who do catch it assume that David has resorted to stalking her.]]
* ThoseTwoGuys: Jenny's friends, Hattie and Tina. They're a great GreekChorus for Jenny's ego, hanging on every detail of her romance, but then either she dumps them or they dump her because they're [[WhatHappenedToTheMouse never seen again.]] Though, it might be because [[spoiler:she dropped out of school, so it wasn't necessary for them to be seen again.]]
** A deleted scene would have shown Jenny apologising to them for being a bad friend after TheReveal.
* ATragedyOfImpulsiveness
* UptightLovesWild: That's Jenny and David's relationship at first.
* WhatTheHellHero:
** Jenny pulls this twice of David for his shady business (but she gets over it quickly) and [[spoiler:when she finds out about his wife]]; she also pulls this on Danny, who always knew about the latter. Danny counters this by reminding Jenny that she didn't think too much of their shady business either.
** Jenny's teacher and headmistress both question Jenny on her romance with an older guy on more than one occasion. And Jenny pushes right back.
* [[WiseBeyondTheirYears Wise Beyond Her Years]]: Jenny seems sure that she's wise and pretty clever for a girl of her age. [[spoiler: [[SubvertedTrope She really isn't.]]]] And she lampshades it in this exchange with Miss Stubbs:
-->'''Miss Stubbs:''' You sound very old and wise.
-->'''Jenny:''' I feel old, but not very wise.
* AWolfInSheepsClothing: David.
* WrongGuyFirst
* YourCheatingHeart: [[spoiler: David is a serial cheater. To the point where the only thing that really upsets David's wife is how young Jenny is. Her dialogue makes it clear that this isn't the first time one of his spurned lovers has shown up on their doorstep--and some have even been worse off than Jenny, being "in the family way".]]
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