Directed by Hannah Fidell
Part psychological thriller and part provocative character study, A TEACHER explores the unraveling of a young high school teacher, Diana (Lindsay Burdge), after she begins an affair with one of her teenage students, Eric (Will Brittain). What starts as a seemingly innocent fling becomes increasingly complex and dangerous as the beautiful and confident Diana gets fully consumed by her emotions, crossing boundaries and acting out in progressively startling ways. Lindsay Burdge delivers a deeply compelling and seamlessly naturalistic performance that brings us into the mind of an adult driven to taboo against her better judgment.
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★★★★ review by Hollie Horror on Letterboxd
A Teacher is written and directed by a young woman named Hannah Fidell and while it may be too soon in our new film relationship, I think I'm in love with her?
Lindsay Burdge plays the teacher, Diana Watts, who has developed an infatuation with one her students, Eric Tull (played by Will Brittain). There are other people in this movie, but their voices are often so quiet I had trouble hearing what they were saying but, honestly, that's okay because this movie is about Diana and Eric, everyone else is just background noise to their love affair. Diana is so wrapped up in Eric that as the movie progresses, we realize along with her that she has a problem and it is unhealthy, in addition to being very wrong. What started out as exciting and exhilarating eventually becomes intense to the point of exhaustion. But it's safe to say that most obsessions start from something seemingly safe and innocent and then spiral out of control.
The movie possesses a subtle, ethereal beauty. Lindsay Burdge gave a performance so believable that it was rather haunting. There was something incredibly relatable about her character, she isn't just another Mary-Kay Letourneau. Diana is obviously a troubled person, we find this out rather early on when confronted by her brother, she has a very ill mother who she would rather avoid in an attempt to save herself the grief of facing her.
I'm having trouble writing about this movie and expressing the way it made me feel. The camerawork, the softness; both visually and audibly, the performances by Brittain and Burdge, the mood, the content, everything together just completely swept me away into the movie.
I see the average rating on IMDb and even here on Letterboxd and I can't help but feel rather confused, did we watch the same movie?
I don't know what to tell you guys, but I loved A Teacher. It's as simple as that.
★★★★½ review by Don on Letterboxd
One of the most self-assured directorial debuts of recent times, and a damn good film, A Teacher showcases the upcoming talent that is Hannah Fidell, who operates the film with a deft hand and a clear flair for both style and substance. The performances are good (if perhaps a little overwrought), the music and cinematography is truly magnificent and the script is grounded in an ethereal, magical sort of realism. It is heavily flawed, but Fidell is a imminent talent to watch out for and the titular teacher enravelled in an obsessive love affair she can't get enough of (Lindsay Burdge) is ace. Hard to watch at times (particularly the ending) but a very rewarding watch all the same.
★★★★½ review by Gustaf Ottosson on Letterboxd
Nr 43 on All Films I Saw 2015 (Ranked)
Two brilliant movies instantly comes to mind watching A Teacher. The first is Michael Haneke's The Piano Teacher and the second Cédric Kahn's L'ennui. What binds these three films together is the expert recount of human emotions, that can seem irrational, but are explained by overwhelming experiences.
One of my favourite scenes in cinematic history is the one in The Piano Teacher where piano student Walter Klemmer play Shubert at an admission test for a class. Isabelle Huppert puts on the greatest performance ever, when she subtly, without any excessive gestures, purely with minute facial expressions, puts a spectrum of mixed and paradoxical emotions on display. Disgust and disappointment is mixed with admiration and amazement; all in a few slight muscle movements.
This scene came to mind watching the excellent Lindsay Burdge, as she in the first half of A Teacher is thrown between paranoia and motivated concerns. The performance is stunning, which in turn enhances the story and theme of the film immensely.
We get to follow a female high school teacher that is having an affair with one of her students. The setup is simple and yet director Hannah Fidell manages to turn the story into something extraordinarily interesting, with the help of accurate psychological examination and a dramatic turn. It is at this point my thoughts are drawn towards Kahn's great dramatisation of Italian author Alberto Moravia's "L'ennui". It is an examination of how human emotion can change drastically depending on the security or insecurity in a persons relationship to another human being. (If you haven't seen it I strongly recommend it: L'ennui).
Burdge is not the only great performer. A Teacher has a perfect cast to match the story, and everyone involved fills their purpose to a maximum.
Some people will probably complain that this film focus to much on static scenes in which not much happens, but this is precisely why it is so great. Just like Dostoevsky, in literature, Fidell spend more time exploring and portraying the interior, instead of the exterior. If you are a person inclined to identify and reflect upon subtle tones and want to watch a movie that is well shot, well acted and offer a highly suspenseful story (within the premise that the most dramatic and thrilling events are the mundane that can happen to anyone) then you can not miss A Teacher
★★★½ review by Jryanmua on Letterboxd
This film is about a female high school teacher who has a sexual relationship with a male student. The scenes depicting the mischievous relationship she has with the student could arguably have been seen as a normal romance (illegality aside), but the way the film establishes early on the disappeal in the guy by way of the smug walk he performs in his first scene tells that the film is all but in favor of them being together, which is a feeling we hold on to moving forward. Our lead, the teacher, perhaps not perfectly understandable, at least has a basic level of likability and thus the likability of her romantic counterpart is a natural concern. But it's that concern that cranks the film's gears. This boy, and every other character in the film who is not the teacher, is essentially just a device leaving her the only real character in the film. It goes as far as to present long shots exploring her face and expressions as other characters talk to her out of frame. Because it's her this film is about, and the camera work's method is crucial to examining thoughts and actions as complicated as hers. The score also becomes an important element as it, in moments, tells a different story than what any other element is telling. Be it foreshadowing or enlarging a certain little emotion present in the scene, the music draws attention to the sinister side of her situation as if the voice in the back of her mind had been given instruments.
The teacher begins the film a modest woman with only hints at strange complexities, but after a jarring realization and her confusion spiraling, a bathroom mirror sees her looking crazed out of her mind and eventually she's running through through hallways like Ghostface from Scream and rustling in bushes outside someone's backyard all in the name of some primal desire left conceptually up in the air. While it's made clear she has problems, it doesn't tell what those problems are, and we are left to our best guess - ultimately pulling from our own experiences. The story, in that sense becomes a kind of interesting take on the mad-heorin genre (like in A Streetcar Named Desire), which cannot be complete without an amazing, frenzied performance by the lead actress. A Teacher has that in Lindsay Burdge.
★★★½ review by Carlos Rubi on Letterboxd
A Teacher es una película muy frustrante. La idea del argumento es clara: tenerte en espera del gran momento. ¿Es imposible que si una maestra de treinta y tantos se acuesta, sextea y sale con un alumno de su prepa nadie se entere, no? ¿No? ¿No?
El guionista y director propone eso y, durante una cinta de una hora y once minutos (que se siente como dos horas y media), te deja en espera de lo que puede o no llegar y cómo esto transforma las vidas de los involucrados.
A pesar de la reinvención del género (¿cuántas películas así hemos visto?) el desenlace es más reflexivo que apantallante. Sin embargo, no podemos decir que nunca nos enganchamos con las fascinantes actuaciones y la tensión presente. Recomendada a secas para el que ame un buen thriller psicológico y nada más.
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