The bespectacled, wrapped-too-tight spinster, Julianne Moore, is an archetypal schoolmarm with a fire down below living a life of quiet desperation. Until a former student, a failed playwright, with the right poker (pun intentional) arrives in town with a play no one wants to see. Teach flips over the play and pushes the Drama Club to mount it as the complications pile up.
Ms. Moore is simply superb here. She's a national treasure and woman-of-a-certain-age Hollywood still calls. And rightfully so. Although pony tailed and covered head-to-toe as "The English Teacher," she's still hot!
Teach judges men she dates with stream-of-consciousness displayed as on-screen text. She's abetted by a proper British narrator, Fiona Shaw, who adds an element of Gothic Romance to this tasty stew.
The Drama Club is run by a terrific Nathan Lane, a failed Broadway Star, who delivers the funniest lines in his trademark condescending dryness. Kudos also to Jessica Hecht and Norbert Leo Butz as Principal and Vice who take exception to the play's dark ending and demand a rewrite. Add a serviceable Greg Kinnear who easily handles his role as the playwright's Doctor Dad.
The play, "The Chrysalis," is received as having a universal theme all people relate to as if it were written specifically about/for them. The broad interpretation is Ms. Moore, by film's end, has broken out of chrysalis to butterfly. (Much to the consternation of the narrator who unsuccessfully attempts to talk Teach out of a date with Kinnear.) Scratching beneath the surface, students of Literature and Drama might find the film mildly thought provoking.
Ms. Moore's arc is predictable, but the journey remains a lot of fun.
Though a bit lightweight, with a great cast, a smart, funny and intelligent script, there's little to dislike about "The English Teacher." One hopes Ms. Moore will keep you after class.
The English Teacher
Comedy / Drama
The English Teacher
Comedy / Drama
Linda Sinclair (Julianne Moore) is a forty-year-old unmarried high school English teacher in the small town of Kingston, Pennsylvania. She shares a small apartment with two Siamese cats and her rich collection of great literature. She maintains no close personal relationships aside from those she has with her favorite authors and stories. Her life is far less complicated than the dramas she devours on the page, and she likes it that way. But Linda's simple life turns an unexpected page when former star pupil Jason Sherwood (Michael Angarano) returns to Kingston after trying to make it as a playwright in New York. Now in his 20s, Jason is on the verge of abandoning art, pressured by his overbearing father, Dr. Tom Sherwood (Greg Kinnear), to face reality and go to law school. Linda can't stand the thought of Jason giving up on his dreams so she decides to mount his play - a dark, angst-ridden, ambitious work - as a Kingston High School production, with flamboyant drama teacher Carl Kapinas (Nathan Lane) directing. As Linda, now well out of her normal comfort zone, takes further risks in life and love, the stage is set for highly comic downfall. With the play, her reputation, and her teaching career on the line, Linda finds an unlikely ally in herself. Amidst the ruins of her formerly perfect life, can she find a way to her own unique storybook ending?
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August 23, 2013 at 12:40 am