Leigh Ann is salutatorian when she needs to be valedictorian to get her scholarship to Harvard. The only class she is worse than the leader in is history, taught by Mrs. Tingle, and the teacher hates her. When an attempt to get ahead in Mrs. Tingle's class goes awry, mayhem ensues and friendships, loyalties and trust are tested by the teacher's intricate mind-games. Written by
Helen Mirren described the part of Mrs. Tingle as her "dream role", noting that the appeal was the ability to lay in bed all day in the "most comfortable costume I've ever worn". See more »
When Leigh Ann and Mrs. Tingle fight towards the end of the movie, the blood running from Leigh Ann's nose keeps changing patterns. It starts off as a big blood smear to a simple line of blood running down her nose. See more »
In the UK, we're lucky enough to see Helen Mirren regularly on tv, especially as the lead in a crime drama series called Prime Suspect. In Teaching Mrs Tingle, she offers us a splendidly embittered bitch, teetering on the edge of caricature but always just - only just - on the stylish side of the thin line. The supporting cast of young actors, Barry Watson, Katie Holmes and Marisa Coughlan, are sexy and sassy - as the film is itself - and are good enough to suggest that in a few years time we'll all be watching this wondering why we didn't realise how good it was when it came out. The narrative's carefully managed by the writer (with none of the dreaded Dawson Creek verbal diahrroea), the photography and lighting are cleanly and sometime imaginatively done, and the dramatic thrills generate emotional excitement in a way that many so-called thrillers would like to emulate. Someone making this film was absolutely first rate at getting the best out of their team: maybe not everyone involved is going to do better later, and maybe this will turn out to have been their finest hour - but if you want to see a really enjoyable comedy thriller, then try this excellent movie.
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