Movie Review: The English Teacher

IMDB, The English TeacherDrama/Comedy, 93 Minutes, 2013: “The English Teacher” on IMDB

Miss Sinclair (Julianne Moore [IMDB]) is a dedicated high-school English teacher in a small, Pennsylvanian town. Her encompassing love of literature has given her an overactive romantic sensibility and little patience for ordinary relationships. She’s perfectly content being left alone with her teaching, her cats and her books.

A former student returns home after failing to make it as a NY playwright and impresses her with his dramatic, emotionally wrought play. She risks her reputation (and savings account) to see the play realized as a high-school theater production. Becoming emotionally involved with him, the romantic in her assumes more than she should and her quiet life is thrown into disarray.

The movie is warm and fun with the expected moments of light drama to give it some depth and heart. The premise is fertile ground and used well. The prima donna theater director with delusions of grandeur and his eclectic student cast. The small-minded administration that want to sanitize the play and can’t understand why they’re just not doing “Our Town” again. The overly sensitive author that’s full of more than a little shit and his long-suffering father. It all works.

Moore is always worth watching and portrays the quiet teacher with hidden passions wonderfully. The movie is hers to sell or not and she puts forth her best, considerable effort. Happily the character remains consistent, even considering her emotional breaks, throughout. We’re never subject to a false, Hollywood-style transformation or “awakening”. The character does grow from her experience, but meaningfully and reasonably.

This is just a nice, comfortable date-night movie to watch curled up with whomever you curl up with. It would be fair to call it a “chick flick”, but that would be an oversimplification. It’s smart, fun and, in a good way, easy.

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