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The Kindergarten Teacher

Maggie Gyllenhaal gives a career-best performance as a kindergarten teacher who finds herself in an ethical quagmire after discovering the poetic talents of a precocious student.

Dir-Scr Sara Colangelo
Prod Maggie Gyllenhaal, Osnat Handelsman-Keren, Talia Kleinhendler, Celine Rattray, Trudie Styler
With Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gael García Bernal, Michael Chernus
USA
2018
96min
UK Distribution Thunderbird Releasing

Lisa Spinelli (Gyllenhaal) is intense. Her life is not. Her marriage is devoid of intimacy, her children reject her efforts to ignite their creative souls and she spends night after night at home diligently eating nutritious but unremarkable dinners. Searching for a richer existence, she takes an evening poetry class, sharing her ardent compositions to a largely unreceptive class and teacher (Gael García Bernal). When a young boy in her care suddenly begins to recite poetry, Lisa takes it upon herself to record the work and share it, with unexpected consequences. An intelligent adaptation of an Israeli film of the same name, Sara Colangelo’s change of location to the US reveals fascinating insights into the preoccupations of the English-speaking liberal classes, gleaning subtle observations on identity, guardianship and artistic endeavour.

Jemma Desai

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