Movies by Mills (November 2018)

Page 52

THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER Directed by Sara Colangelo Starring: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gael García Bernal, Michael Chemus I’ve asked Jimmy to recite some of his poems at a poetry reading. - Lisa The premise is looking at a teacher who becomes fascinated and consequently infatuated with a five-year boy in her class who is well beyond his years which she discovers by overhearing him recite poems seemingly to himself. We become entranced and inspired by the young boy’s genius, and Lisa Spinelli (Maggie Gyllenhaal) the boy’s teacher, begins to nurture Jimmy (Parker Sevak) which leads to her becoming obsessed with the child. But there are problems, not with Jimmy, but with Lisa. Her home life is anything but normal. Her children refuse to sit down and eat dinner with the rest of the family, one would rather spend her time using Instagram to further her once potential photographic career. Alarm bells sound when Lisa begins to fret about her life, despite having a loving and trusting husband, she is straying and is unsure of where she is going in life, and then realises that Jimmy could be the answer to all her anxieties about herself. Suddenly her behaviour changes and her fixation on Jimmy increases and begins to break all the rules. She starts writing down every poem he recites and uses them to impress the poetry class she attends. Jimmy is now paramount in her life and she sees nothing wrong with spending so much time with him. What suddenly seems a harmless interest in helping a talented child becomes an alarming awareness that Lisa is abusing her rights as a teacher and her contact with the child by touching him, taking him where others cannot see him and gradually acting to the point of obvious discomfort to the child. Her actions result in Jimmy’s father withdrawing him from the kindergarten. Predictably her breakdown comes when she realises that she has lost control of Jimmy but also of herself. 52