31 January 2016

The English Teacher (starring Julianne Moore)

I don’t know why this DVD was recommended to me, but it sounded good from the reviews, and I was given it for Christmas just over a year ago; it’s taken us this long to decide to watch it.

Julianne Moore stars as Linda, a single teacher in her forties. She lives on her own, and - according to the introductory voice-over - mostly enjoys her days, living vicariously in the novels she devours. She’s an inspiring teacher whose students enjoy her classes, and she’s fiercely independent. So much so that when an ex-student happens to see her, she rather over-reacts at first…

Michael Angarano co-stars as Jason, a young man who has graduated from university and written an incredible - if dark - play but has been unable to find anyone interested in performing it. His widowed father, he tells Linda, wants him to give up on his dream of being a writer and study instead to be a lawyer. 

Linda is determined to help out, and convinces her school to put on the show, no expense spared…

On the whole it’s light-hearted, the school production being caricatured and full of its own drama on the sideline. The main cast - including Greg Kinnear as Jason’s father - are excellent and believable. While the ending is somewhat predictable, there is an unexpectedly sordid incident - done with humour but still rather cringeworthy - that made me less certain about the likely outcome.

The storyline is not particularly original, but it’s nicely done on the whole. The rating is 15 (or an even more cautious R in the US) which I think is right: there was a fair amount of ‘strong’ language, which I could have done without, as well as a bit of violence and the rather obviously sordid scene mentioned above. I can’t imagine that this would appeal to anyone still at school; I would have found it embarrassing in the extreme when I was a teenager.

Still, we liked it, and thought it made a good light evening’s entertainment. So on balance I would recommend it.

The film is around an hour and a half long, and the only extras are some cast/crew interviews.

Review by copyright 2016 Sue's DVD Reviews

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