#TIFF18: “THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER” REVIEW
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
After premiering at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year (where it won Best Director for Sara Colangelo), The Kindergarten Teacher lands in Toronto for its Canadian Premiere. Lisa Spinelli (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is a bored Kindergarten teacher who yearns to be noticed and appreciated by her family and her night-time poetry class. By chance, she hears her five-year-old student Jimmy Roy (Parker Sevak) reciting his own poetry, and sets out to assist in cultivating his potential genius.
The Kindergarten Teacher is an interesting Film about recognition and obsession, and goes to darker places than you may imagine. It makes for some tonally unbalanced moments and superfluous characters who add very little to the story. But the Film is at its most compelling when it focuses on the relationship between Lisa and Jimmy, played brilliantly by Gyllenhaal and the young Sevak. It is uncomfortable and awkward in some scenes, but it is also raw and deeply emotional. Gyllenhaal bares her soul here, continually proving what a powerhouse talent she can be. I just wish the ending was less of a gut punch.
The Kindergarten Teacher screens on Thursday, September 13 at 9:30 PM at Roy Thomson Hall, Friday, September 14 at 10:00 AM at Elgin Theatre and Saturday, September 15 at 11:00 AM at Elgin Theatre.