The Kindergarten Teacher
Gyllenhaal is Lisa Spinelli, a primary school teacher who aspires to a more engaged cultural life for herself and her family – who don’t share her enthusiasm. She finds an outlet for her artistic pursuits at an evening poetry class taught by a handsome instructor (Gael Garcia Bernal), who doesn’t care much for her poems. One day, five year-old student Jimmy (Parker Sevak) unexpectedly recites what appears to be a poem, and Lisa becomes convinced that he is a poetry prodigy. With his busy father uninterested, Lisa takes it upon herself to foster Jimmy’s talent, and soon enough the boundary is breached between care and unhealthy obsession. The Kindergarten Teacher is an unpredictable and intelligent film.
[A] brilliantly observed ethical pretzel… The Kindergarten Teacher is probably the only movie about poetry with an ending as tense as any thriller. – Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian
Maggie Gyllenhaal’s performance is marvellous, sympathetic even when she is doing all the wrong things. – Monica Castillo, The New York Times