Review: The Kindergarten Teacher
That's a poem.
Lisa Spinelli (Maggie Gyllenhaal) teachers kindergarten in New York. She takes a poetry class at night from Simon (Gael García Bernal) where she doesn't really succeed. One day she notices one of her students Jimmy (Parker Sevak) composes a beautiful poem while pacing her room. She writes it down, and passes his work off as her own at poetry class. She becomes obsessed with him thinking he's a prodigy and that no one in his life is nurturing him enough.
This movie is so uncomfortable. I wanted to wake my child up when I was finished to have yet another "You know you're not supposed to get in other people's cars, right?" I think as a parent in this day and age you have to suspend a bit of disbelief in a sense to think that Lisa gets as far as she does, but this film knows what it's doing and it's here to make you squirm.
Maggie Gyllenhaal is fantastic in this and easily gives one of the best performances I've seen all year. You can tell how frustrated Lisa is in her life and how this obsession sneaks up on her. The strongest part is when she's fully aware what she's doing is wrong. You can see the wheels spinning while she tries to remain logical. Unfortunately none of the other supporting characters get enough material to even remotely match her performance. This is Maggie's show.
I have a rather large problem with the way this film ends. It was a bold move, but I felt it could've been 5-10 minutes longer with a bit more detail. This felt like a situation where less isn't more.
Memorable Quote: "Don't let her talk to you like you're a puppy." - Lisa (Maggie Gyllenhaal)