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The Kindergarten Teacher - A Lesson in Crossing the Line

Check out Joel's review:

Submitted by Bethany on Mon, 10/29/2018 - 07:48

I knew nothing about this movie going into it which means I had no expectations. It starts incredibly slowly, and never really gets fast paced, but does gradually get more interesting. If you are willing to invest the time it is an intriguing character study with some social commentary as well. 

The story follows Maggie Gyllenhaal as Lisa Spinelli, a middle aged kindergarten teacher who is dissatisfied with her own creativity and her disappointing teenage children. She's been taking a continuing education class in poetry and receives bad feedback on her artistic attempts. When one of her students, five year old Jimmy starts spouting his own poetry, Lisa writes it down and presents it in the class as her own. When the work gets rave feedback she begins to realize that she might have a child prodigy in her class, and she does everything she can to nurture him and his talent. 

From there we slowly watch Lisa start to cross more and more lines as she goes to highly inappropriate lengths to care for this student. You can see her heart is in the right place - she is worried about the way the world devalues artistic talent, and knows that if no one pays attention to what he is composing now, his ability to do so will likely peter out and disappear. But she becomes so focused on celebrating hi poetic abilities she doesn't see the lines she is crossing, or perhaps, she just doesn't care. 

The acting was good, the story well written (if slow), and I wound up finding myself very invested in the relationship between teacher and child. I appreciated the thoughts it stimulates on how art is valued (or not) in our society. Watch this one when you are ready for a thinker, not when you are in the need for some mindless entertainment.