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The Kindergarten Teacher

(Rated M)

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Overview

Stuck in an unsatisfying marriage and with teenage children who ignore her, 40-year-old Lisa Spinelli (Maggie Gyllenhaal) treads water by teaching kindergarten with quiet dispassion. One day everything changes when Lisa discovers that Jimmy, a five-year-old boy in her class, may be a gifted poet and sees him as a ticket out of her mundane life. When Lisa presents some of Jimmy’s work at her poetry class as her own work, and receives praise from her teacher (Gael García Bernal), her desire to mentor the child genius grows. As fascination turns into obsession, Lisa spirals downward on a dangerous and desperate path to channel her unfulfilled creative dreams into the protégée.

"Brilliantly observed ethical pretzel... probably the only movie about poetry with an ending as tense as any thriller."
— The Guardian
"Gyllenhaal has been too good too often to label any one of her performances as her best, but she’s certainly never been better than she is here."
— IndieWire
"A messed-up Maggie Gyllenhaal gives a lesson in intensity..."
— The Telegraph UK

Why You Should See This Film

With a deft touch for dark humour and thoughtful nuance, director Sara Colangelo turns a sensational scandal into a subtly riveting character study — aided by Maggie Gyllenhaal delivering perhaps her most pitch-perfect performance of a career littered with them, from Secretary to Sherrybaby. Under her ambiguously fascinating spell, the audience is made a dutiful accomplice to her extraordinary behaviour — totally enraptured even as the film deals us a round of increasingly shocking surprises and the title character’s grip on her own obsession begins to get out of hand.

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  • Year: 2018
  • Rating: M
  • Director: Sara Colangelo
  • Cast: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gael Garcia Bernal, Rosa Salazar
  • Duration: 97 minutes
  • Language: English
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