The English Teacher (2013) Poster

User Reviews

Add a Review
38 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
7/10
Delicious, Delightful, Intelligent
Cinnyaste25 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The bespectacled, wrapped-too-tight spinster, Julianne Moore, is an archetypal schoolmarm with a fire down below living a life of quiet desperation. Until a former student, a failed playwright, with the right poker (pun intentional) arrives in town with a play no one wants to see. Teach flips over the play and pushes the Drama Club to mount it as the complications pile up.

Ms. Moore is simply superb here. She's a national treasure and woman-of-a-certain-age Hollywood still calls. And rightfully so. Although pony tailed and covered head-to-toe as "The English Teacher," she's still hot!

Teach judges men she dates with stream-of-consciousness displayed as on-screen text. She's abetted by a proper British narrator, Fiona Shaw, who adds an element of Gothic Romance to this tasty stew.

The Drama Club is run by a terrific Nathan Lane, a failed Broadway Star, who delivers the funniest lines in his trademark condescending dryness. Kudos also to Jessica Hecht and Norbert Leo Butz as Principal and Vice who take exception to the play's dark ending and demand a rewrite. Add a serviceable Greg Kinnear who easily handles his role as the playwright's Doctor Dad.

The play, "The Chrysalis," is received as having a universal theme all people relate to as if it were written specifically about/for them. The broad interpretation is Ms. Moore, by film's end, has broken out of chrysalis to butterfly. (Much to the consternation of the narrator who unsuccessfully attempts to talk Teach out of a date with Kinnear.) Scratching beneath the surface, students of Literature and Drama might find the film mildly thought provoking.

Ms. Moore's arc is predictable, but the journey remains a lot of fun.

Though a bit lightweight, with a great cast, a smart, funny and intelligent script, there's little to dislike about "The English Teacher." One hopes Ms. Moore will keep you after class.
32 out of 39 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Charming & funny - a real gem
phd_travel19 July 2013
This is one of those indie movies that is much better than many big budget feature film comedies.

The story combines original comedy, a touching partly dramatic climax and a feel good plot that comes together perfectly. The comments on screen are an original touch. No wonder such a top notch cast appears in it.

The performances are stellar. Julianne Moore gives a wonderfully varied and moving performance as a spinster English Teacher in high school who mounts the play of an ex student played by Michael Angarano. She can do comedy just as well as she does drama and biopics.

The supporting cast includes Broadway veterans Jessica Hecht and Norbert Leo Butz as school principals, Nathan Lane as the diva of a drama teacher, the lovely Lily Collins as a high school student and aspiring actress and finally Greg Kinnear as the young playwright's father.

This is one of the best indie comedies in years and deserves much more critical acclaim and financial success than it received. Look forward to seeing more from the screen writing duo who penned the story.
27 out of 37 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
A decent small film with good performances from the Leads
esub4426 August 2013
First of all watch the film, then make up your own mind, I can't stand people who come on here and give bland one or two word reviews. Its a small budget film which centers around a returning high school grad and an English teacher trying to help him succeed and reminding him to keep at his dream of becoming a playwright in New York. Its films like this that make me want to continue watching films, they center around characters, story and actual acting. If you want gimmicks and explosions with no point then go play a computer game or watch a Michael Bay film.

Okay so this film isn't the best you'll ever see but its decent.
18 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Best Literate Comedy Since the Jane Austen Book Club
jayraskin25 December 2013
I was captivated by this movie and laughed from beginning to end.

I do not get the people who did not like this movie. They say nasty things and say nothing about the movie. Did any of them even watch the movie? They all deserve an "F". Yes, everybody who hates this movie gets an "F" in good taste and an "F" in life. Now, go back to High School and learn what you didn't learn when you first attended.

For the rest of us, especially those of us in the teaching profession, this is a gem. Not since Neil Simon retired have we had such sharply drawn characters and such sweet and gentle self mocking humor. It is both English teaching and High School theater that gets gently ridiculed. Yet, underneath the humor there is a real understanding of the importance of both subjects in our curriculum.

Any humanist, Jane Austin fan, Julianne Moore fan or theater lover will appreciate this movie. Go for it.
20 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Tackles an issue never brought up
Steve Pulaski19 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The English Teacher is a great film for many reasons, but one of them is it touches on a subject that is so often ignored and undermined in the world. That subject is exercising a passion for something that doesn't amount to anything. It is one of the greatest personal tragedies in life, and those who experience it are likely to lose confidence in themselves and in the world. No longer does your passion become a gift but a curse once you realize you may not or are not able to do anything with it.

This strikes a personal chord with me; someone who excels in writing and creativity but flounders with math and science in a computer/arithmetic driven society. The last five years, I've maintained great relationships with my English teachers, who I've held dearly to my heart in school as they guided me and supported me through my ongoing career in writing. The thought that this may never amount to anything but a personal hobby is a frighteningly upsetting one, but it's a reality I've too-long ignored. Even if this turns into nothing else than an outlet for self-satisfaction and personal fulfillment, I have greatly enjoyed the ride.

Moreover, The English Teacher concerns Linda Sinclair (Julianne Moore), a high school English teacher in the small town of Kingston, Pennsylvania. She's in her mid-forties, unmarried, and content with her position in the world, going through a textbook routine of eating healthy, watching Television, and trying to enrich her students with the wonders of classic literature. She discovers one of her old students, Jason Sherwood (Michael Angarano), who she recalls as one of the greatest writers she ever had, is back in town and living with his domineering father Tom (Greg Kinnear). Jason reveals to her that after going to New York to major in dramatic writing, success has seemingly passed him by and he has taken his father's advice to go to law school. Jason clearly loathes this idea, and subtly winces when he says that writing makes him nauseous, but Linda can't see him throwing away his long-pursued hobby for the redundancy of being a lawyer.

Jason gives Linda a copy of "The Chrysalis," a play he wrote that he shopped around to no avail. She reads it, cries her eyes out, shows it to the drama teacher (Nathan Lane), he highly regards it, they force the school to allow it as this year's school play, and they reluctantly accept - but they demand the tragic suicide ending be changed. Linda buries this small point when disclosing the contract to Jason, who approaches the idea of his play being made with great hesitation. In the meantime, passions begin to flare between the confidence-deprived writer, the repressed, unfulfilled English teacher, and one of the leads in the play leading to much stress amidst the cast.

Julianne Moore gives a career-making performance as Linda, a role that is made more complex by including the ideas that she is in fact happy with her life position, regardless of the fact that the spark is fading dimmer and dimmer. When she is suddenly given more responsibility when Jason's play commences, we see that she may have not been lying as she handles the pressure with great uncertainty and frustration. Michael Angarano, who earlier this year did great work in the quirky, effervescent Brass Teapot, terrifically captures the essence of a struggling writer in search of a voice and heart. And while somewhat shortchanged, Greg Kinnear is never a problem to see turn up in any film.

When you really think about it, a job as an English teacher is pretty unforgiving. I can show you how to do a math problem and, since there's a set of rules and specifics to obtain a certain solution, solving it involves direction and not creativity. English and writing, on the other hand, are harder to teach. You can teach formatting, punctuation, and sentence structure (the redundancy of subjects, predicates, verbs, nouns, adverbs, adjectives, independent, and dependent clauses had me struggling to stay awake in grade school), but when it comes time to actually write, the weight is all on you on how you approach a subject. Formatting you can teach, but creativity you can not. I can tell someone how to properly use punctuation, but I can not tell them how to structure an essay accordingly.

I say an English teacher is an unforgiving job because I feel that more than half of a typical student body feel that writing is a chore. I'm likely one of the few who actually smiles when told we're going to write an essay. I can finally express creativity, opinion, and insight far beyond the confines of the coldness of multiple choice questions and short answer responses. Writing gives a human range and freedom to express thoughts, and I hold that kind of expression dearly to my heart. And when an English teacher assigns kids a book to read, they almost have to duck and cover. It's predictable, but at the same time crushing to hear kids regard classic literature as "a waste of time" or "so pointless." I recall being the only person in my English classes to enjoy the tragic hero in Death of a Salesman and the communist symbolism in Of Mice and Men.

But I digress. The English Teacher is a terrific film, with beautiful touches of intelligence, craft, soul, and careful storytelling. The relationship between a teacher and former student is touchingly portrayed, and the characters seen throughout the film are the kind you regard as friends and colleagues. This is a remarkable picture that certainly overcomes its awkward, out-of-place English narration.

Starring: Julianne Moore, Greg Kinnear, Michael Angarano, Nathan Lane, and Lily Collins. Directed by: Craig Zisk.
32 out of 51 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
I liked it
Stephen Clarke27 September 2013
I think it was nicely done. I am very anti cuss words but, The occasional cuss word in this film were perfectly placed and funny. I have a soft spot for Nathan Lane and his inclusion was the main reason I put aside an hour or so to watch this movie. He was brilliant as a play director. I think the casting department did a fabulous job with everyone. I had the distinct feeling the cast were good friends off camera. The story was unique despite a couple of cliché moments and I didn't notice any lighting of camera errors, no mikes hanging in view, editing smoothly done. I am having trouble finding fault, so let's say it was over too soon. Oh, I hoped for the ending, and I got it.
15 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The English Teacher
tmooney1-987-6206728 April 2014
"The English Teacher" is actually a thought-provoking movie. It's somewhat bittersweet in its depiction of an array of likable, believable characters who encounter - and must deal with - a gap between personal ideal and reality. Take the drama teacher: he tells us that he once had ambitions, while now he's the quirky local school drama coach. Everyone, including the teacher herself, has some unfulfilled ambition bubbling beneath the public surface.

I'll admit to having perhaps a slightly different perspective than many other viewers. I live in the real-life Kingston, Pa. and saw the movie with an audience that "got" all the local references, for better or worse, and probably laughed harder than other audiences would. But I think any audience, anywhere, could enjoy - and even perhaps identify with - the characters who populate this movie. If "action" seems minimal, maybe that's because what's "happening" is the everyday lives that we eventually settle into.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Lane and Moore, Please Give Me More
aharmas26 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
It's always pleasurable to see talent on the screen. Be that on the shape of a great screenplay, good acting, or a combination of both. "The English Teacher" offers both, and this might not make it a perfect film, but it's quite enjoyable, funny and heartbreaking, and relatively fresh. It doesn't resort to vulgarity to make us laugh, and it certainly reflects the times in an accurate way. It incorporates technology without forgetting the human side of the story, and it centers around a good story.

Enters a lonely English teacher on her way to becoming a certified spinster. She tries to find a good man to date and marry, and the choices are scarce. Before she knows what hits her, she is involved with a former student of hers in an scandalous affair, yet this incident adds a touch of excitement to her life, maybe a little too much.

Her world as she knows it, spins out of control, and her students, her high school faculty, and a few members of society are quick to crucify her. Still in the middle of this mess, we have some comic relief, as we discovers the thin line between drama and comedy. Tears and laughter coexist very well together, and with Lane in the middle of the crazy drama, we can assure a few good laughs will be there.

So it's not like the classic comedies of the thirties,and sex may be at the center of the situation, but it's still not far from taking the social commentary stance seen in other films where society is quick to judge, and humans are still quite careless and irresponsible when rushing into emotional affairs. Moore is in a class by herself as the woman who holds back her personal passions, only to let herself fall quite hard when she misreads real life versus the experience she finds in the classics. Real life is not that easy to control.

In the end, things do work out, but it's a hilarious ride from beginning to end, and it's quite a clever script, so enjoy it.
12 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
"Do you REALLY think you affect their lives by reading them Emerson?!"
doug_park200115 April 2014
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.
6 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
My Questions to the Writers Are: Do You Believe Your Story Is Funny? What Is the Message of This Story?
Claudio Carvalho28 January 2014
In Kingston, Pennsylvania, the forty-five year-old lonely spinster Linda Sinclair (Julianne Moore) is a high-school English teacher with a routine life that loves literature. When she stumbles with her former student Jason Sherwood (Michael Angarano), she learns that he has returned from New York after failing as a playwright in Broadway. Linda borrows his play named "The Chrysalis" to read and she loves the play. Then she shows "The Chrysalis" to the drama teacher Carl Kapinas (Nathan Lane) and they decide to produce the play in the high-school. However Vice Principal Phil Pelaski (Norbert Leo Butz) and Principal Trudie Slocum (Jessica Hecht) are against the production since the conclusion is too dark for the students and they can not exceed the budget. Carl offers to change the ending and Linda offers to cover any amount that exceeds the budget. However, along the rehearsals, the naive Linda learns that real life is not a literature and people are flawed and may disappoint.

"The English Teacher" is an unpleasant movie with despicable characters; Julianne Moore's actress and her character are the only attraction of this movie. Jason Sherwood is a liar and ungrateful character; Carl Kapinas is a sophisticated ridiculous character incapable to keep and assume his own word; Halle Anderson and Will are among the worst that you can expect from teenagers. Linda Sinclair is unselfish teacher that sponsors the production of the play for love for the art, but is not supported by the selfish Jason Sherwood and Carl Kapinas and has her career destroyed by the disgusting Halle Anderson and Will. My questions to the writers Dan Chariton and Stacy Chariton are: Do you believe your story is funny? What is the message of this story? My vote is three.

Title (Brazil): "Adorável Professora" ("Adorable Teacher")
13 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
4/10
A waster of time
maxuk-639-6036029 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
... I was intrigued when the film first started and I thought it was going to tell a story that's meaningful and serious ... Out of no where the teacher was having sex with her former student in the classroom. I thought she had been looking for a man that is cultured, humble and intelligent. The scene of her having sex with her former student was a complete shock to me... I understand that the character of the teacher has been single and bottled up for a long time but knowing nothing about the former student's private life apart from reading his play and then letting sex happen like that is a complete character-changing ... This must be made for American's taste...

Many films after all are about money-making.

It is absolutely a waste of time.
16 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
Movie about an English teacher who goes to any lengths to help her students. Funny and worth watching. Great acting. I say B
Tony Heck2 September 2013
"The true romantic is always alone and must ever be on guard against a dangerous world." Linda (Moore) is an unmarried English teacher with a passion for teaching her students, when Jason (Angarano) a former student of hers shows up and fills her in on his life. After graduating from NYU he has become a failed playwright and his overbearing father is forcing him to go to law school. After reading one of his plays Linda talks the school into producing it which causes tension between him, his father, and the school as well as bizarre love situations. Based on the cast alone I was very much looking forward to seeing this. Greg Kinnear is one of my favorite actors and Julianne Moore is great in everything. The idea didn't seem all that original or exciting but the acting more then makes up for it. It seems like every movie made about a teacher involves an English teacher and most of the time they are very good. This is really a toned down, less classic version of Dead Poet's Society in the way that the teacher tries to help a student realize his potential against the wishes of his father and the school. I am in no way comparing this to Dead Poet's Society but it is worth watching and I did enjoy it. Overall, great acting and funny, very much worth watching. I give it a B.
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Teach Me Tonight
spelvini26 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
With any other actress in the lead role of a spinster English teacher in a small Pennsylvania town The English Teacher may have flopped entirely on its own misshapen face, but under the devices of Juliann Moore nerdy Linda Sinclair shows us a lot about how best intentions can cause the worst outcomes and teach us so much about life.

Teaching high-school English in Kingston, PA Linda Sinclair (Julianne Moore) is a judgmental customer when it comes to dating. At 45, and unmarried she views every potential mate with a harsh grading system much like the one she uses in her class room where students are delighted by her firm but supportive guidance. When former star pupil Jason Sherwood (Michael Angarano) comes to town disheartened from his labors in New York to become a playwright, Linda attempts to show her students and surly Jason what it's like to see creative writing fleshed out. Linda pushes the young writers play into production at the high school much to the chagrin of his father Dr. Tom Sherwood (Greg Kinnear) who wants his son to become a lawyer. When Linda and Jason sleep together the event shakes the English teacher out of her well-constructed cocoon and when the student body gets wind of the affair, Linda discovers that she must come out of her shell completely to save her job, save the show, and rebuild her own self respect.

They say that the best comedies are terrible things that happen to other people. When we see poor Julianne Moore's hopeless romantic Linda Sinclair's life tumble our initial reaction is thwarted by a cavalcade of events that progressively erode into a tragedy except for the fact that her character loves every aspect of what is happening to her because it fuels a deep-seated need for drama in her sheltered world.

The filmmakers have a host of support actors led by the stalwart Nathan Lane as the wise and sensitive drama teacher Carl Kapinas (whose name all the students purposely mispronounce to make it sound dirty) and Lily Collins, Norbert Leo Butz, Jessica Hecht, Charlie Saxton and others. Watching Jason's play in rehearsal offers some of the most hilarious moments in the film, and anyone who has been in high school productions, or community theatre for that matter will see some of their friends here.

The films overall subversive nature is off-putting for anyone really thinking about what the screenwriters Dan Chariton, and Stacy Chariton are putting out there. On the one hand they have their story narrated by an unseen Narrator presented by Fiona Shaw whose voice like the goddess of English Literature reminds us of the correct direction of the tale as it unfolds. This traditional and romantic viewpoint is undermined by the real-life events of a young playwright attempting to have his own writer's voice heard. The clashes of these two realities coalesce into an unusual parable about male and female relationships as unattainable in the post-modern world.

The overall idea that our public literature classes are producing staid and packaged pseudo intellectuals is addressed by the suggestive Narrator of the story being essentially shut out as Linda finds the right man for her. This is high comedy, something we smile at as the screen fades and anyone who has been in high school will feel the effects of the banal questioning from teachers after we have read A Tale of Two Cities, begging us to understand the idea of self-sacrifice.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Slapstick schlock
tigerfish5023 October 2013
Considering that 'The English Teacher' was clearly intended to be a light comedy, watching it while awake is an excruciating experience. The film's basic concept has some promise - a failed young playwright returns to his home town where he encounters the high school English teacher who had inspired him to write. Unfortunately the idea is treated as broad farce from the moment the disillusioned Jason runs into prim Ms Sinclair at an ATM, and she mistakes him for a mugger. After attacking her former student with a pepper spray, the apologetic teacher decides to recommend Jason's latest work to her school's drama department.

The remainder of the film exudes a sense of desperation, as director and cast put on an over-acting showcase at the level of provincial theater. After several pratfalls, shameful revelations and last minute hitches in search of easy laughs and melodrama, the play opens to a predictable reception. Needless to say, Ms Sinclair's dedication earns her the formulaic romantic reward of a 'unexpected' suitor. As the curtain falls, she sheds her primness for a prosperous, contented future in American rom-com dreamland. It makes Jane Austen's work look like gritty urban drama.
8 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
4/10
Julianne Moore is good as always, the film that surrounds her is not...
Clayton Davis2 May 2013
Anyone who knows me, or simply follows my Oscar predictions on a yearly basis, knows that I'm highly anticipating the hopeful moment that three- time Academy Award nominee Julianne Moore wins her long deserved Oscar. Last year, my year in advanced predictions had Moore at the top of the Best Actress heap for Craig Zisk's The English Teacher. At the time, little was known about it and I was operating on a wing and a prayer for than actual analysis. The film was pushed back and had its showing on Video and Demand as well as the Tribeca Film Festival. Essentially, the hope remains for another project. The English Teacher is a cheap farce of comedy taking unrealistic behaviors and unbelievable dialogue from its principal cast. Julianne Moore, as always, rises above anything that is going on around her. Beautifully elegant and dives head first into a character poorly structured and overtly misguided. Nonetheless, you can take her to bank every time.

What the film manages to do is highlight the beauty of Lily Collins to the utmost extreme and once again, put the undervalued Greg Kinnear in a role that offers him no strength or room to move. And don't get me started on the ending that scribes Dan Chariton and Stacy Chariton put together. Cheap, under thought, and gives the audience no credit in the process and procedures of teaching, acting, and romance. Nathan Lane is nearly boiled over in his awkward role while Michael Angarano is merely passable.

Unfortunately, The English Teacher is a miss on most counts. Julianne Moore is your reason to watch.
13 out of 32 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
Might be Best to Stay Away
cB3916 May 2013
The movie starts out well, but seems to fade halfway through. The conclusion of the movie is overall flat and uneventful. The high school actors seem to really be just that. If they were trying to be unbelievable in their roles and seemed distant from their roles. Michael Angrano and Julianne Moore were the best in this movie, and that doesn't really say much. The characters are extremely shallow (intended), but makes the movie unwatchable, especially when they try out a few plot twists, that don't require deep thought.

3/10 - The jokes don't land, the story is not interesting and the actual play within the movie seems to be the best part of the movie, something which should have been explored.
13 out of 34 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
4/10
Good actors in badly developed characters
Sexy Scientist17 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
At first, movie is not true to its trailer. The trailer promised it to be much more funnier and I had much expectations because it is Tribeca films, but there is not much comedy but more of the drama element. Now, the movie itself – Linda is shown to be pretty mature, clear minded and not at all desperate for men. In the scene with Jason after their argue with his dad, there is a hint of motherly feeling in her for Jason. But out of nowhere, Jason kisses her. (Why?) She is first shown to resist but after the kiss, she is shown to dive in the act with both feet in. What suddenly happened to Linda? Where is her dignity and professionalism? In the next scene, she asks Jason to take a break (not breakup) from the relationship in the name of the play. Okay, means she is thoughtfully ready to have a relationship with Jason in future. But no, this time Jason messes the things up by hitting on Hailie who already had a thing for him from the beginning. Now, what Jason is trying to do? Is he too desperate to have sex and non-responsible for the enactment of his own play? Then Linda is shown to be pretty immature by trying to talk Hailie away from Jason using her authority, in place of talking to Jason about it. Can anybody tell me why so much immaturity is happening when the characters are established to be very mature? Okay so, then this complete asshole Will, whose character is not developed in the movie, records the tiff between Linda and Jason (in which they talked about their sex) and distributes it in the whole college. So, someone writes obscene words outside the door of Linda's classroom which Linda pretends to be Hailie. (Why Linda why? It could be anyone. Please use your mind.) Then, out of rage, Linda barges into the principal's chamber complaining about Hailie by telling half the truth to the principal. Then, principal and vice-principal goes to auditorium only to find out the complete truth. At this point, all the characters are present in the auditorium and when all the truths get revealed, it becomes a huge mess. Actually this all is the story development and movie starts from here on. But there are too many flaws in the characters' development which makes the movie not enjoyable.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A sympathetic teacher
Gordon-115 November 2014
This film tells the story of an unmarried female teacher who is in trouble after an alumnus playwright goes back to her school for a school play.

Julienne Moore often plays challenging characters, and this English teacher is no different. She faces loneliness, shame and embarrassment; yet deep down she is a good person who does teenagers much good. I sympathize with her experience, and I thought she did not deserve such bullying. I liked the ending a lot, although I thought the film could have done without the narration of the voice that tells her what to do and what not to do.

The story is told in a comedic manner, hence I enjoyed watching it.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
Entertaining, but frustrating
Maynard Handley21 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I found the storyline of this movie appealing (I like works of art that are happy to admit some people enjoy their comfortable routine lives and do not crave "excitement" and "adventure"). Julianne Moore was as gorgeous as always, and portrayed her character's range of experiences well. BUT Two big flaws:

The first flaw comes towards the end of the movie. We've built up this fraught and tense situation where Ms Sullivan has burned all her bridges. She returns to school, mocked by the students and tremendously embarrassed. We then basically jump forward three weeks to a totally different social environment where she appears to be once-again respected and integrated into the school. WTF? How did that happen? The answer we get is a complete cop-out. It's hinted that some combination of "grin and bear it" on her part and the awesome ending she wrote for the play did the job, but, seriously, that is not how the world works. Teenagers are freaking monsters, not to forget that she earned (for good reason) the enmity of one of them whom she tried to destroy. That's all not going to go away, and pretending that it does destroys any pretense the movie has to somehow commenting on life.

The second flaw is not as serious, but the voice-over in the last few minutes is ham-fisted as all heck. It's totally unnecessary, totally idiotic. Throughout the movie (including commentary about the play) we've been told about nuance, about filling in the blanks, about the audience making inferences, then we get this stupidity!
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Flunk off
bob_meg26 April 2013
It's kind of hard to find a film that fails on literally every level, but veteran TV director Craig Zisk's first feature does just that, and quite spectacularly.

It manages to defuse any sense of authenticity (and comedy) with either tasteless banalities, tone deaf slapstick, cliché-riddled characters, and a script that transcends unfunny into awkward, embarrassing, then just plain awful.

Just what did this movie want to be when it grew up? Perhaps we'll never know. Maybe it was a still birth from the start by fledging writers Dan and Stacy Chariton. It falls back on obviousness and sitcom posturing every time it gets close to taking us somewhere fresh. And neither have the chops to recycle classic screwball comedy successfully.

Julianne Moore can play comedy quite well, but nothing she can do here can possibly make us care about Linda Sinclair, the mousy title character whose sleeping romantic soul is stirred by the "true to life" play written by down-on-his-luck ex-student (Michael Angarano), many years her junior. When she's not trying to drown out the done-to-death "ironic" narration by Fiona Shaw, or trying to peer out from behind the subtle as a rock "grades" which constantly cross her (and our) vision in obnoxious overlays, she looks as if she's ready to flee the screen in embarrassment. She's given to shouting matches and screaming fits mostly...there isn't much in her performance or anyone else's that's not fraught with histrionics.

The supporting performances veer from "so what" (Greg Kinnear) to unbearable (Nathan Lane, who doesn't even look like he's having fun hamming it up, for once). The characters are nasty and self-absorbed without any trace of absurdity or self-reference. It's hard to feel anything for any of them. It's a good thing it fails as a comedy; it would be a nightmare as a drama.

There's a scene where a student criticizes Angarano and calls a stage slap he wrote "trite," to which Angarano responds by storming out. It's ironic really, because one envisions that the Charitons might do the same when faced with a similar critique about this film. It tries very hard, is a bit too earnest and overly sweet, and then has the audacity to demand we take it seriously when it hasn't done anything in its 93 minute runtime to merit it.
12 out of 37 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
2/10
Waste of time
adventurer_ci22 August 2013
I did not like this movie. Poor acting to start with. Julianne Moore can't cry that is for sure and I felt most of the time that she was overdoing it- overacting. So her character looked rather fake to me. Jason' character , as almost all the other characters in this movie, is shallow and/or absurd caricatures. Predictable, soppy, mediocre film. Nothing is funny here, why is it called a comedy? I still don't know what this movie about. I can't name a single worthy American movie made in the last few years. The other 2013 movies I watched and liked are

not American- The Best Offer; The Hunt; Intouchables; The Hairdresser-one of the German made movies that I liked, even thought it is not a masterpiece, in my opinion. The first thing I judge a movie by-is acting. I am sure there are talented actors in US, but for some unknown reason the ones who can't act are being hired again and again.
8 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
waste of time
Zolie56824 May 2013
The plot is disjointed,the characters are pathetic not just that but all the characters were annoying and rude, truly horrible you couldn't pick a single likable character in the bunch, was that the point? overall the film was a gigantic waste of my time. It was a bad film the script was awful. I have no idea what the film was about and i watched in its entirety. was there supposed to be a moral? was it a drama? a comedy? a tearjerker? It was a confusing. I have seen a lot of movie and i can honestly say that was up there with the worst it may even be number 1 it was that bad don't waste your money. That was 2 hrs of my life I will never get back plus the ten minutes it took me to write this review. truly infuriating
8 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
A Fun Film Despite an "Old Maid" Julianne Moore...Come On
danew1325 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I'm a sucker for sweet rom/coms. So I liked this movie and I also love Julianne Moore. But,I'm sorry, although her performance was top rate,I can't buy this always hot chick as an old maid school teacher who can't get decent men in her life. I have to think an an even more absurd film called The Ugly Truth where a ravishingly beautiful Katherine Heigle can't meet a guy.

Other than this miscasting, the English Teacher evolved better than most films of this sort and left me in feel good mode. The staging of the school play was very good and funny. This was due in part to a good comic performance from Nathan Lane.

The cast is rounded out by Greg Kinnear,Michael Angarano and Lily Collins, who seems to be in loads of films now.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Cute and cheeky
rps-213 October 2017
This is a pleasant, low budget, entertaining film. The story is built around a high school production of a play written by a former student of the school. But there are complications galore. It's funny. It's clever. It's original. There are a lot of laughs but also some serious moments, a bit of rumpy-pumpy and a few profanities, tied to-gether with a humorous, British accented voice over commentary and occasional, bluntly worded on screen titles. It's a happy combination of good writing, interesting characters, original ideas and snappy production, all done on a low budget.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
There's no business like school business...
moonspinner5512 June 2017
Sleeper success that catches its audience unawares. Julianne Moore proves she's still at the top of her game playing 45-year-old spinster school teacher in Pennsylvania who encourages a former student with his writing, committing herself to seeing that his original play is approved by the school board for production by the drama department, but instead yielding herself to a sexual indiscretion in the process. Tangled-web dark comedy, framed like a modern day absurdist fairy tale, begins as a lightly-comic character study before fusing itself to a sharp satire of the high school dynamic. Fortunately, both sides work beautifully, with excellent supporting turns by Michael Angarano (a terrific young actor), Greg Kinnear as the boy's father and Nathan Lane as the passionate drama teacher. Extremely well-written by Dan and Stacy Chariton, who provide such an offbeat touch to both situation and dialogue that one never knows what's going to happen next. A marvelous surprise. *** from ****
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
loading
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews