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Young, adventurous 'English teacher' is assigned to carry out a 'linguistic revolution' in the remote Georgian village. Basically looking for new adventures a young teacher finds himself on... See full summary »
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 ...Written by
"Do you REALLY think you affect their lives by reading them Emerson?!"
Julianne Moore gives a memorable performance as Linda Sinclair, a stodgily cool, attractively nerdy high school English teacher who finds herself in a compromising position with a talented former student whose play she's promoting to the school's administration and Thespians. While I loled once or twice, most of the consistent humor is of a drier, more satirical variety. This film does a nice job of compassionately satirizing a number of institutions and stereotypes, and this is one English teacher that really knows how to keep at least some of the class's attention without asking them to think too hard.
Notwithstanding the mock Masterpiece Theater narrator, THE English TEACHER is quite light comedy in the end, without a lot of character depth or conflict development. Though it's pretty tame stuff and looks like it could be rather uneventful, plenty happens throughout its short (90-minute) length.
Not to sound snooty, elitist, or anything else, but it seems that someone would need one and preferably both of the following in order to really enjoy THE English TEACHER: A) Some familiarity with the world of Secondary Education, its various workplace clichés ("Just take it down one level, please," etc), and sensitive legalities--admin's concern about the possibility of a lawsuit if they allow the students to put on a play that ends in bloody murder, etc.
B) Some familiarity with (and interest in?) classic American and British literature. While the frequent allusions are nothing heavy, it helps to know a little about who Lord Byron was, the basic plot of Thornton Wilder's OUR TOWN, and so forth.
I strongly recommend this film to anyone who falls under those categories, particularly those who teach English. Some current high school students (and parents) with relatively sedate tastes may also like it. Those outside these perimeters may be rather bored by THE English TEACHER.
Nothing really wild happens beyond some implied sex, a lot of realistic profanity, and generally sensitive subject matter.
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