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Bring a Baby: The Kindergarten Teacher

Sara Colangelo

An American remake of the 2014 Israeli film, The Kindergarten Teacher is a subtle, thought-provoking study of a woman slowly unravelling. Made with great restraint by writer-director Sara Colangelo, this is an intimate and engrossing portrait of a teacher, dissatisfied with her own life, whose misguided obsession with a young gifted pupil spirals slowly out of control.

"a subtle, thought-provoking study of a woman slowly unravelling..."

Maggie Gyllenhaal is simply superb as Lisa, a kindergarten teacher who clearly loves her job. A budding writer, she’s enrolled in a creative writing class but is struggling to get noticed by her teacher (Gael García Bernal). When she overhears little 5-year-old Jimmy (Parker Sevak) muttering a poem to himself, she becomes convinced he is a prodigy. Wanting to nuture Jimmy’s talent, but also occasionally passing off his work as her own, Lisa insinuates herself more and more into his life, soon becoming an obsessive and potentially dangerous force.

Never judgemental, The Kindergarten Teacher presents all its characters’ flaws and qualities at face value, which means we understand their motivation, even if it sits very uncomfortably. This is a slippery, enigmatic film that asks more questions than it answers, particularly around how young people are used to fulfil the ambitions of the adults around them.