The Kindergarten Teacher is a taut psychodrama of a woman searching for fulfilment along morally ambiguous lines when she goes too far nurturing a gifted child.
It’s the creation of writer-director Sara Colangelo, is based on a 2014 Israel film, and centres around a career-best performance from Maggie Gyllenhaal whose subtle and elusive incarnation of Lisa, a seemingly perfect kindergarten teacher with a wayward moral compass, is simultaneously alluring and disturbing.
The tense and carefully crafted film explores ideas of the pursuit of intellectual prowess and creativity, our modern day social-media-fed superficiality and a woman of a certain age living in a sexless marriage asking: is this is it? Meanwhile, the stream-of-consciousness advanced poetry that emerges from her young student cryptically implies a kind of magic realism. The brilliant Gael Garcia Bernal puts in a reliably good performance as the poetry professor with a romantic interest in Lisa while young Parker Sevak is outstanding as the young genius.
We sat down with Sara Colangelo to find out what drew her to the complex and unusual story, why she was motivated to produce her own version of the Israeli film and her experience of working with Gyllenhaal.
By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 4th March 2019.
Video: Filippo L’Astorina
The Kindergarten Teacher is released in select cinemas on 8th March 2019. Read our review here.
Watch the trailer for The Kindergarten Teacher here: