A Teacher (2013) - Rotten Tomatoes

A Teacher (2013)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

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. (c) Oscilloscope Laboratoriesmore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Hannah Fidell
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 1, 2014
Box Office: $4.0k
Oscilloscope Laboratories - Official Site


Lindsay Burdge
as Diana Watts
Will Brittain
as Eric Tull
Jonny Mars
as Hunter Watts
Chris Doubek
as Eric's Father
Hannah Dannelly
as Eric's Date to the D...
Mark Farely
as Sophia's Father
Michael J. Wilson
as Sophia's Brother
Tony Layson
as Westerbrook Faculty
Elana Farley
as Westerbrook Faculty
Taylor Kennedy
as Westerbrook Faculty
Victoria Warner
as Westerbrook Faculty
Ashlin Williamson
as Westerbrook Faculty
Michael J. Wilson
as Sophia's Brother
Molly Bently
as Classroom Extra
Gregory Brown
as Classroom Extra
Martin Delaney
as Classroom Extra
Kris Koeppe
as Classroom Extra
Caresse LaCorbiere
as Classroom Extra
Jack Lewandowski
as Classroom Extra
Jason Christopher Re...
as Classroom Extra
Nikaela V.R. Sainz
as Classroom Extra
Desiree Staffeldt
as Classroom Extra
Montavian Green
as Classroom Extra
Nessa Mcvea
as Classroom Extra
Philip Aronson
as Classroom Extra
Lanie Faith Marie Ov...
as Classroom Extra
Wesley Scott
as Classroom Extra
Nate Last
as Extra
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for A Teacher

Critic Reviews for A Teacher

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (14)

The movie is lifeless for its first hour, and the last-minute outpourings are too little, too late.

Full Review… | September 12, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

An evocative but ultimately hollow indie drama.

Full Review… | September 6, 2013
New York Post
Top Critic

The diminishing returns in part are due to Burdge's performance, which too often settles for the same look of fraught anxiety. But they also result from Fidell's decision to pare her film down to the barest elements.

Full Review… | September 5, 2013
Top Critic

Ms. Fidell ... has a fine eye but not the makings of a feature-length movie here and, it quickly becomes clear, isn't interested in this relationship or the moral, ethical and legal issues it raises.

Full Review… | September 5, 2013
New York Times
Top Critic

Fidell's mature style and Burdge's lack of guile are engaging. As the film's emotions grow darker, a lack of ideas comes through.

Full Review… | September 5, 2013
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Glimpses of the relationship's dynamics can't overcome the missing sense of how these two first connected, an increasingly problematic void at the movie's core.

Full Review… | September 5, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for A Teacher

Pretty bad not gonna lie. I didn't even watch the whole thing, I just fast forwarded through the boring parts which was like the entire movie. The majority of the movie is just poor choices of music that play over scenes where no real action is taking place. Like bad and loud music will play while the teacher is looking at the sunset for a long time at least 5 minutes-- just staring. That's not a good movie.

There's also no plot to this movie. There's a teacher and a student that are hooking up. But we don't know how the relationship started which probably would've been the most interesting part of the story, but no we never find that out. We just know they are together. They hook up occasionally and that's really all that happens until the very end when the teacher loves the student so much she goes to his house and his father finds out about their relationship. Then the student sells her out and she gets fired from her job. Actually we don't even know what happens because the movie ends with her getting a phone call from the principal saying "hey you're gonna need to come in to the office we have a student here and his father". So we never know what happens. We just know she gets really sad and goes back to bed.

The acting was horrible, so horrible at least the high school boy had okay acting skills. Although he looked more like a college student than a high school senior. He was way too ripped and built to be a high schooler. And the movie itself was just so poorly done I can't even begin to describe it. Half the scenes were done in the dark so you can't even see what is happening. Other times the camera stays on one angle the entire scene and its so BORING. The script sucks ass so what they say is not at all the least bit interesting. It's just a horrible movie overall. You can tell the director tried to be artsy and have a "underlying message" and capture the "intensity" of the forbidden relationship between the student and teacher, but he fails miserably on all accounts. There's no artistic value in this or underlying message, and with the shitty acting there's not much chemistry between the actors either. The director uses weird ass music and holds on shots wayyyy longer than he needs to, but none of it works because the director had no fucking clue what the hell he was doing. Whatever "emotion" he was trying to capture didn't work because there's no emotion. It's just a bad movie.

In the end the only real message from this movie is common sense: Teachers who sleep with students will get fired. There's no need to watch this movie because you probably already knew that.

Japes .

Super Reviewer


A Teacher takes the gasp-awe taboo of teacher-student romance and puts it on center stage. Conceptually, A Teacher is highly engaging and has a lot to say. Unfortunately, the execution of those ideas never gets off the ground.

The viewer is flung right into the fray. Diana, an AP English teacher at a public high school, is already in the throes of a relationship with student Eric. While the movie never specifies how long they've been together, it can be assumed that the relationship is already sexual before the camera captures anything. On the one hand, this allows us to see the relationship for what it is at the outset, without our perspective getting colored by knowing characters (and yelling at them for bad mistakes, etc). But the trade-off is that we are flung into this scenario without any emotional attachment. And the movie never tries to bring us up to speed. It's like a kid relating a story: "And then we got into my SUV. And then we had sex in the back seat. And then we cuddled. And then he left. And then I missed him. And then I texted him. And then he texted me back."

They story gets conveyed, but it is always holding the viewer out at arms length. We see the effects on both Diana and Eric, but without any kind of glimpse into their mind to help lead us along. Sure, some if it can be assumed. Eric is a teenager. He's liking the sex. He's liking having a relationship. Perhaps he likes the weird power exchange, something he seems to drink up in one weird scene where he wants to get physical and Diana doesn't.

But to an extent Eric feels like a secondary character. He's The Romantic Interest, but the focus is almost entirely on Diana. And she is a tough cookie to crack. There are a lot of interesting surrounding details that seem to point at issues in her life, but none of them are explained. There is an interaction she has with her brother that hints at family troubles, but there's never any resolution there. There is her general inability to fit in with her peers--she's a fish out of water at a party, for example. Her feels like a cog that doesn't want to fit anywhere. Nowhere in this life machine seems to provide a comfortable slot for Diana. So maybe that's what the relationship is; a place she feels she can put her cog. But the weird thing is that even that fails to fit her. Her existence outside of work is either having sex with Eric or sitting around her apartment by herself, scrolling through Eric's Facebook photos. Again, larger issue being pointed to.

Some of this happens in the latter part of the movie where she seems to go crazy. In fact, Eric says that at one point. But her actions feel less like craziness and more like addiction desperation. Put her next to a junkie trying to get a fix and there's very little difference. In fact, replace Eric with a needle and you could make a very similar movie.

And if the movie had been able to bring all of these disparate issues into focus to provide a reason for her relationship or some sort of psychological viewpoint we could see or understand, A Teacher could have been an astounding movie. Answer the questions of why she acts like an addict in this relationship. Why is her family reaching out to her, but she's running from them. Why, why, why! But none of these things get touched on with any kind of resolution. Nothing happens to make us say, "Oh, Diana makes sense now!". Instead they just exist as glimmering fools gold; half-baked ideas that are meaningless.

And without this psychological understanding of Diana, all we as a viewer is left with is what the movie gives us: a story of a relationship that keeps the viewer at arms length until the end.


Hannah Fidell's new film, A Teacher, says it is "part psychological thriller" and "part provocative character study" although it never really becomes either as the incredibly short Sundance film (74 minutes) doesn't develop its central character with any layer of psychosis beyond what the audience sees skin-deep. It is "provocative" in that Diana (Lindsay Burdge - First Winter) is a young teacher who finds herself attracted to Eric (Will Brittain), one of her minor students; but even provocative becomes the wrong word when the main character appears to have no semblance of acceptable vs. un-acceptable behavior. Our teacher is completely devoid of rationality ... and that is the film in a nutshell ... the base relationship moves on to the next level each time she advances it. The film's literature implies that the teacher knows what is acceptable in society but there is no evidence (in the movie) that Diana ever sees what she is doing as wrong. She actually becomes more upset if she believes the pair might have to pause between dalliances and at one brief moment when Diana fears they might have been discovered she hysterically questions what that other person might be saying (the fault being that other person's ... NOT what Diana was possibly caught doing). This is what the film gets VERY wrong ... she is just a bad seed nobody would really befriend. The movie pretends there is a moral compass somewhere in the movie; but there isn't one. There is very little moralizing here and it shouldn't pretend that it is something it is not as Diana's character never wrestles with what NOT to do ... she wants more of it and more of it and more of it. There is never a call or cry for help ... Diana unravels ... and I wish it had happened sooner!

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