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The English Teacher
DIRECTOR: Craig Zisk
CAST: Julianne Moore, Michael Angarano, Nathan Lane, Greg Kinnear, Lily Collins, Fiona Shaw (narrator)
Running Time: 90 minutes
There’s so much to either love or hate in this film it’s a tough one to place.
There’s so much at odds with what might be viewed as classic romcom and yet, with the audacity of a first-time director and Julianne Moore, who so gets who her character is, it kind of works – for much of the time.
Linda Sinclair (Moore) is a 40-year-old unmarried high school English teacher in a small town where she shares her flat with two cats. There’s not much else happening in her life apart from her teaching. Moore is also not who springs to mind when thinking of this teacher. But thank goodness she was chosen. It’s what makes the film work in some fashion.
Remember this is romcom of a kind, not a genre to judge too harshly. First off, they use a voice-over which could drive some viewers mad. But if you decide to jump on board and allow Moore to lead the way, it’s quite a giggle.
If one has to think of life lessons or what the story is trying to say, it’s a tough one to untangle.
Perhaps it’s more of watching someone doing something they have no business doing, and then getting through it. And the fact that the director decided to follow his star’s lead.
He allows for a certain wackiness to reign, which entices you to go with the flow and not question anything too seriously.
As Linda tries to help a former pupil who seems to have hit a bump in the road, her life unravels in a way that she couldn’t have imagined – but then she makes a right turn and the rest is where she takes you. It’s also good to have Kinnear, an understated actor who has a way of stealing hearts, back on board. They’re quite a crazy bunch trying to tell a story that’s tough to pull off. For some they will and they got my vote – just.
If you liked Being Flynn or The Kids Are Alright, you might like this.