Today Lone Scherfig's An Education hit DVD shelves. The Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard-starring film earned 3 Oscar nominations, a Golden Globe nomination (among a myriad of other nods and awards), a 94% fresh rating, and my complete adoration. Watching a teen girl fall for an older player on the big screen is old hat, but Scherfig managed to create a film that's whimsical, yet honest; serious, yet fun; and most importantly -- a film that never fogs up the reality of a story between a young, innocent girl, and an older man who should know better.
It's rare that a feature film allows for both reality and whimsy. An Education allows you to escape into a fantasy, without forgetting reality, mixing idealized romance with real-world troubles -- balanced in such a way that the film never gets too fantastical nor too real. This is, surely, due in large part to the original true story, and Nick Hornby's excellent writing, but it's also a mark of excellent casting. A story like this is only as strong as the chemistry and talents of its leads, and the many ways the story can manifest.
With that in mind, hit the jump for seven essential films outlining the May-December experience on the big screen, and weigh in with your own top picks.