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Director Hannah Fidell got the idea of the movie Teacher while she worked at a restaurant waitress and was attracted to a young patron. She wondered how this would happen to a teacher. We often hear of older men and younger women, but how about the older woman, younger man? In A Teacher, Diana is a teacher at a suburban Texas high school. She has a strain relationship with her family and has few intimate friends. She crosses the lines and begins a sexual affair with a student Eric. In it, she is taken away to reignite the excitement of youthful lust and adapts to the world of quickies, sexting, and fantasy of her young suitor. Besides the ethical dilemma, she is carried away to continue this fantasy to a point of no return. This movie does a good job to show the humanity of Diana who simply craves emotional intimacy that she blocks from the thick wall around her. I saw this film as part of the Atlanta Film Festival.
A Teacher (2013)
A maddening movie that has some gutsy aspects. But there is so much depending on credibility in the character's motivations, you can't quite ever buy the plot.
Which is this: a high school teacher gets involved with one of her students. I know this happens now and then, often to national headlines, so that much I like. But we want to see the psychology of a teacher who would do that, and it isn't here. What the director and writer (and leading actress, to some extent) give us is a young woman who takes risks and is obsessed with the young man she begins having sex with. Big risks. Risks so absurd (like kissing him in the classroom after the other students have left) that you wonder if the movie makers had information that this was true, or if they were winging it with no good instincts about how people would act in this situation.
Not that it needs to be terribly rational. Obviously here is a case of a teacher losing track of her place in her job, in her life, and of the consequences ahead. The student we believe, just enjoying a good ride with a nutty teacher, somewhat sincere in his liking her but a little baffled by her obsession. I mean he's only a high schooler, and as much as they know a lot about a lot, they don't know about the convolutions of older people's ability to love, and the complications of that.
Anyway, there is a lot offered here and very little achieved. To some extent the last scene of the teacher lying on a borrowed bed sums up all of our feelings. Kind of, oh my god, oh my god. Yeah, of course. But with so much dangling and unexplored, this could have been a powerful, valuable, must see drama.
Coming in at 75 minutes, if it were any shorter it would have been a TV
Pilot, but if it were any longer I would have hated it.
An interesting dive into the mind and emotion of a female teacher who has a sexual relationship with one of her students. Lindsay Burdge, the actress playing the teacher, did an excellent job for most of the movie at being seemingly normal, but obviously mentally unstable. Near the last third of the movie however, she seemed to cross the line of believable and over the top a few too many times for me.
The approach of the movie was interesting in that we start well into their relationship, as the teacher's life starts to unravel. The time span of when the movie took place was relatively short, and the movie focused more on her and her emotions than it did on the relationship, which I really liked.
This is a film in A Teacher that is nudging itself, trying to be set
free from the restraints and the shortcomings of the finished product.
The film trying to break free is a deep, involved character study on a
teacher-student relationship that functions because of deep
conversation and a mutual understanding between parties. The film we
get is an interesting albeit mostly flat examination of an unremarkable
teacher-student affair that strides along with sporadic hardships and
ends in predictable calamity.
Hannah Fidell wanders into mumblecore territory here, as she directors and pens the film about Diana Watts (Lindsay Burdge), a high school English teacher, in her thirties or so, who has been flirting and hanging around with student Eric Tull (Will Brittain). The two hang out frequently - mostly in each others homes so being spotted in public isn't possible - and both enjoy each others company, personality, and intimacy. It doesn't take long, however, for Diana's paranoia to nearly get the best of her, as she tries to keep their relationship closeted, even as Eric begins to turn the other cheek to her at some points.
Immediately, this is a story that needs to be told, and this film ostensibly will humanize and maybe justify a teacher-student relationship. However, Fidell unfortunately keeps things too heavily nuanced to be insightful and too subtle to evoke much commentary or humanity. There isn't much to Diana or Eric, and their relationship seems more existent because it's a taboo and it's not normative. There's no real indicator on why they're together in the first place. We don't see why Eric has captured her eye, as he is just a typical, faceless high school teenager that comes to class everyday, does his work, and is quietly anxious sexually. There's no justification as to why Diana would want to date a student, or Eric in particular, seeing as if someone found out it could irreparably scar her reputation and put her out of a job.
The film I was hoping A Tacher would be featured extensive dialog to develop each character, dialog in the way of both of them talking about why they like each other enough to carry out a dangerous relationship under the noses of classmates and the school administration, and had deeply intimate, satisfying sex. This would be a four star film. The film we have here is one with minimal dialog in the way of characters, a shallow, limited view on why these two would want to be together, and relatively simple sex scenes captured by a grim camera that knows no color scheme other than black or very, very gray.
Having said all this, the film does in fact feature a strong lead performance by Lindsay Burdge, whose teacher character is made a sympathetic character, even with out much develop towards her. We can see that she thinks something of this relationship - whatever that may be - and she would be pained deeply if something wrong were to happen with it. If the film didn't have Burdge at the center, at least trying to provide some sort of clarity the character's motivations in this relationship, this would've been a complete misfire.
A Teacher is a serviceable, but overly-simple look at a subject that needs strong care and attention to be made human. The characters should've been more identifiable, the sex should've been more powerful and shocking considering the age gap, and the drama should've been thicker. The only thing I thought A Teacher was doing, by the end of it, was simply trying to push transgressive boundaries for the sake of doing so; not because it had something genuinely enlightening or strong to say.
Starring: Lindsay Burdge and Will Brittain. Directed by: Hannah Fidell.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I agree with the negative posters so far, that this was one of the worst movies I have ever seen. It is 75 minutes, and could have been five minutes. Before the movie, I figured the most interesting part would be learning how the two started to hook up. Well, you have no idea and they are just hooking up from the second scene in the movie. Then, what is up with the scene about her family? Early in the movie there is the short scene with her brother and he mentions that her Mom clearly has some sort of illness that has affected her brain. Diana just gets this terrified look on her face and leaves. She had also mentioned her Mom in the first "hook up" scene, so you figure this will be a second story line. Nope. It is like the writer had that idea and then said, "Nah. Let's just forget about the family part." The rest of the movie is basically the same thing over and over again. With some completely random background music that would be more fitting for a B horror film. Then at the end she laughs, cries, and officially goes crazy. That could have happened in scene 1 and the reason I said it could have been five minutes long. The only reason I gave this a 2 and not a 1 is the Ms. English teacher had a good body and there is slight nudity.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this film at Film Fest Ghent (Belgium) 2013. Though announced on
the festival website as a "character study", the first 45 minutes were
nothing but repeats of the same sex-riddled meetings, each time in
different settings and varied locations, but always at places where no
one could see them together. We had to wait for a badly needed turning
event, which came only after 45 minutes, a long overdue moment for the
teacher to start realizing which risks she was taking. She immediately
decided to put their regular meetings on hold, which seemed to be taken
seriously by both for a while. Suddenly, however, she cannot resist the
urge (we thought that only men think about sex many times a day), she
arranges a new secret bed-meeting. For some unclear reason she suddenly
breaks it off halfway, and he leaves the house without much ado.
After only a very short while she rushes after him, parks near his house (where also his parents live), and desperately tries to phone and text him, and finally walks towards his house. It has all the looks of stalking. We see the boy's father interfere, but no actual confrontation. The film ends with her all alone in a motel room, where a voice mail from her school director tells her about a "situation". Apparently, the cat is out of the bag, but this is where the story ends.
All in all, the plot had much more opportunities than the script did use effectively. As it is presented to us now, it offers not that much new about the issue, being rehashed many times before in similar or other settings. I could have inferred all this from the 75 minutes running time, indeed not very much for a "character study". We also have no idea what it is that attracts them to each other, apart from the apparent sex. The audience award ranked this movie a lowly 71th place out of 83.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
this subject is not new its been done on TV and films more then many
times we all know but this time director Hannah Fidell takes tries one
more shot to tell the story in a different way but sadly it fails only
delivers good performances as the characters and the plot is not well
written the actors did there best to save this project.
the plot:a high school teacher Diana and her student have an affair no one knows about them they slowly try to fall for each other but is it love,infatuation,lust or something else that is driving this relationship.
the characters,story & almost everything is half written to be honest here i have to say this film is incomplete its done on purpose only to show emotions of Diana through the film what she is going through but what about the guy and a Little story off course id does have few smooching scenes but please it wont be enough.
the cast:OK Lindsay Burdge is the only leading lady who was acting rest actors were in for the money only.
overall my rating for A Teacher 2013 is 3/10 its a film worth watching only for some good acting as the script is written badly,so see it only if you like Lindsay Burdge otherwise stay away and Skipp it.
Firstly, ignore these stupid reviews: if your highest idea of film is a
typical brainless Hollywood structure with the inciting incident,
setback, climax and happy ending - as i suspect the reviewers so far
hold - you will be disappointed. And good riddance. The less we have of
this mindless, brainwashed notion that every film should conform to a
120-min clichéd set of min-by-min peaks and troughs, the better.
It's only 75mins instead of 120mins? Boo hoo. It doesn't have a happy ending? Shut up. It doesn't have your stupid clichéd "plot" structure you get in every film? Waaah, waah, waah.
If that's the basis of your criticism, it's not the writers to blame: it's you. You, the viewer, are an idiot.
I experimented with this on Netflix as a wildcard watch, despite the cheap, smutty cover which does it a horrendous disservice. I was genuinely surprised and heartened by what i discovered in it. And you know it's done well when your chest hurts afterwards.
The film is absolutely carried by Lindsay Burdge, who gives an unbelievably sincere, empathetic, moving, and sensitive performance: one of the best i've seen in years for an indie flick. I say that as someone who works in film every day, and who forwarded the piece on to a few people as a classic example of first-class artistry. The supporting cast are perfectly reasonable, although perhaps the male counterpart is slightly implausibly mature - it ultimately countermands the relationship to make it more sympathetic.
The story is essentially of one woman's descent into obsession and madness, laced over a very tense and awkward contrasting ascent of tension and difficulty: it's touch-sensitive stuff, with a strange quality that does very much keep you involved with the heavy air of tension. I suspect the writer was tempted to tone it down; the Shakespearian touch would have done well here: a murder at the end of it, or some vile, terrifying conspiracy to really anchor it down. The sex scenes are erotic, tastefully filmed, and coarsely authentic.
I'd compare the subtlety of it to "Notes on a Scandal" (2006) with Judi Dench: centred around an apparently harmless female lead, who sinks under the weight of her increasing needs and compulsions. If one theme emerges, it's the idea of loneliness: you can *feel* the loneliness of the character; coldly alone in her apartment, emotionally isolated, foolishly childish, and of course, hopelessly naive.
It's not event-driven per se, and that's absolutely fine, no matter what the idiot i-want-bruce- willis-don't-make-me-think hoard says. It's a character-driven piece, and a refreshing internal look at an alternative side where the apparent sexual predator is the fool. We don't find out how it happened, why, or where it concluded, and we don't need to - it's showing us the world from her point of view, which is ambiguous, convoluted, and blinded.
The sad point about a title like this is that the marketing and distribution people clearly dumped it, and it may unjustifiably disappear into the ether. It needs a better cover, maybe an HBO slot, a different sales angle, and a more agreeable pickup team.
If you're one of those idiots who watch something like this and whinge that it's not a usual, familiar Hollywood-style happy-ended turd, please do the rest of the world a favor and just throw yourself off a bridge. Stick to comic book movies and stuff about jaded ex-law enforcement types killing TheTerrorists (TM). You're the reason interesting little pieces like this drop down the list, when they should be moving upwards on it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The film focuses primarily on the personality of a teacher having an affair with one of her students. In a noninvasive manner, the story gradually reveals her anxiety, loneliness and psychical fragility. The excitement brought to her by the love affair with a young person that for a brief moment fills out empty places in her existence is lost again to result, as we can see near the end of the film, in her complete psychical crumble.
A young film director, Hannah Fidell has an interesting approach to the exploration of this delicate thematic. The clichés are avoided in the construction of an immoral teacher, otherwise often structured as constantly sexually aroused sensuous women, or miserable women with cold husbands. Fidell's teacher (Lindsay Burdge) is a shy, young woman typical for educational milieu. She distances herself from her environment - often trivial and burdensome searching for intensity in an illicit affair. Her young lover, Eric stays two dimensional in a thought out manner as this is how she sees him. Her obsessions are connected to him as to an intensity carrier and not as to a person. Only at the end of the film, with the appearance of boy's father, we understand how young Eric is unprepared to be entangled into such an exhausting relationship.
The film's deficiency, besides arid visuals, is its wobbling development. It is flirting with possible culmination or with the stagnation in a painfully slow and intensity-lacking world of the teacher. When the film ends with the culmination it seems forced, the development of plot and characters did not give space for expressive pathos. An anticlimax would end the work with more naturalness as inner turmoil that induces teacher's breakdown and young boy to confide their secret to his father stayed unknown to the spectator closed in a gloomy inner world where moral and spiritual questions stay covered in shadows.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As a character study, it doesn't work, since we never learn anything
about the two leads other than that they want to have sex with each
I don't understand the teacher's motivations for anything. Her sudden turn from rightly concerned that this will get out to insanely needy and obsessed? Don't get it, don't care much about it.
The boy is similarly a cipher. He sleeps with his teacher until she starts acting like a lunatic and then gets his dad and the school involved.
At an hour and 15 minutes it's hard to get any character development, let alone a plot, so saying that what this film wants to be is a great character study is missing the mark completely.
All I could think about was what a huge controversy this would have been if the roles were reversed. Male teacher, female student? Everyone would be up in arms talking about how horrifically the student had been abused.
I wished we could gotten a title crawl about how long this 'teacher' ended up in jail for, but no such luck.
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