Julianne Moore Stars in THE ENGLISH TEACHERMay 23, 2013

Julianne Moore Stars in THE ENGLISH TEACHER

Tibeca Film

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand and from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: THE ENGLISH TEACHER (Tribeca film).


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By Melissa Chesman

THE ENGLISH TEACHER, co-penned by Dan Chariton and Stacy Chariton, is a smart, entertaining romp fulfilled by a talented cast who embrace Craig Zisk’s clear, focused direction. Seamless and enjoyable, Zisk’s debut feature (he’s known for his many TV helming credits including: “Parks and Recreation”, “The Office”, “Nip/Tuck”...) has all the mainstream hallmarks for broader appeal, while maintaining a more personal, poised indie flair.

Introduced by a primly erudite, yet fancifully romantic, narrator (most likely her subconscious), Linda Sinclair (Julianne Moore) appears as an open (and rather boring) book. At the age of 45, the repetitive, no frills, small-town Pennsylvania high-school English teacher life she has chosen to reside comfortably alone within is explained away by Linda’s early found and persistent passion for the literary world, against which real life could never compete. Instead of settling for a flesh and bone man, who’d no doubt disappoint, Linda is perfectly content to conjure dramatic desire through her beloved books and feels teaching young minds satisfies any and all rewards she needs in life.

However, when Jason (Michael Angarano), one of Linda’s former star students returns from NYC, feeling the full weight of his failed attempts at playwriting, Linda vows to get Jason’s heart-wrenching, worthy play produced. Linda enlists the help of her high-school’s drama director, Carl (Nathan Lane), who also has a visceral, irreversible reaction to Jason’s play. Together they convince the school’s administration to mount a production, with Linda pledging to cover any budgetary overages. However, the school has one deal-breaking condition: the very dark, teen suicide ending must be changed.

Blinded by their passion for the material and the thrilling opportunity to escape from the high-school drama department tedium of Our Town and The Importance of Being Ernest, Linda and Carl mishandle the conditional truths so Jason will legally sign on to a never before considered high-school presentation of his lifeblood work.


With a bright, young cast assembled and a universal dedication to the project, everyone, including Jason, can’t escape feeling a brilliant opportunity is at hand. But when Jason’s unsupportive father (Greg Kinnear) intrudes, pushing Jason towards law school, Linda’s ingrained inability to separate fact and fiction and Jason’s fragile self-confidence collide in a “Hot for Teacher” incident that colors and confuses Linda’s meticulously constructed real world. A downward spiral ensues, dragging everyone involved in the play into the vortex until there is no other choice but for Linda to face off with reality and rectify the disaster she created before all is lost.

The high-school production of Jason’s play accomplishes much more than small-town success. Amidst the post-production ego-boosting glow, this experience pushes Linda into being open to real world opportunities formerly closed to her. She adds dimension to her teaching style and… may even find tangible flesh and bone love. She is discovering a new narrator for a life that she will write and re-write herself.

Those craving an edgier, darker, irreverent comedy or those expecting the wonderfully talented Julianne Moore to embody a more deeply dramatic, seminal role, may feel slighted by the light, energetic tone, complete with tight, complementary editing and music cues. But for those out for sheer cinematic story-telling fun with a fantastic (shout out to Nathan Lane) cast who obviously signed on for the very same reason—





Melissa Chesman


Melissa Chesman
Melissa Chesman is a new contributing writer to On Demand Weekly. Currently she is a freelance writer/producer and VP of Development for New York City based production company, Raw Digital. Formerly, Melissa has been a production, development and marketing executive for many NYC based companies such as: Fine Line Features, New Line Cinema, Redeemable Features and Chimera Films.

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