Carey Mulligan plays Jenny, a 16-year-old schoolgirl in England in the early 1960s. When she’s not practicing the cello or trying to get into Oxford, she’s dating a middle-age man who may or may not be a professional criminal. Director Lone Scherfig creates an odd mix of school-days drama and itchy horror. She’s helped by Peter Sarsgaard’s creepy performance as David, Jenny’s paramour: He has the air of a United States senator explaining to Larry King why he needed that refrigerator full of money. What makes An Education special is both its refusal to pander and its tremendous suspense. David becomes increasingly suspect as he’s cleared of specific suspicions, and Jenny’s growing infatuation with him is both charmingly sweet and horrifyingly dangerous and naïve. A tiny film with an almost Hitchcockian sense of tension, An Education offers the sort of interesting mixing of genres that only comes from stories based in truth.