• R, 1 hr. 33 min.
  • Drama, Comedy
  • Directed By:
    Craig Zisk
    In Theaters:
    May 17, 2013 Limited
    On DVD:
    Aug 27, 2013
  • Cinedigm


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The English Teacher Reviews

Page 1 of 7
Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

December 25, 2013
While there is a laugh here and there, the entire film slowly becomes implausible and ridiculous by the second.

Super Reviewer

December 29, 2013
Refuse to live life by the book.

Good Movie! The English Teacher is a great film for many reasons, but one of them is it touches on a subject that is so often ignored and undermined in the world. That subject is exercising a passion for something that doesn't amount to anything. It is one of the greatest personal tragedies in life, and those who experience it are likely to lose confidence in themselves and in the world. No longer does your passion become a gift but a curse once you realize you may not or are not able to do anything with it. The story combines original comedy, a touching partly dramatic climax and a feel good plot that comes together perfectly. The comments on screen are an original touch. This is really a toned down, less classic version of Dead Poet's Society in the way that the teacher tries to help a student realize his potential against the wishes of his father and the school. I am in no way comparing this to Dead Poet's Society but it is worth watching and I did enjoy it. Overall, great acting and funny, very much worth watching.

Linda Sinclair (Julianne Moore) is a forty-year-old unmarried high school English teacher in the small town of Kingston, Pennsylvania. She shares a small apartment with two Siamese cats and her rich collection of great literature. She maintains no close personal relationships aside from those she has with her favorite authors and stories. Her life is far less complicated than the dramas she devours on the page, and she likes it that way. But Linda's simple life turns an unexpected page when former star pupil Jason Sherwood (Michael Angarano) returns to Kingston after trying to make it as a playwright in New York. Now in his 20s, Jason is on the verge of abandoning art, pressured by his overbearing father, Dr. Tom Sherwood (Greg Kinnear), to face reality and go to law school. Linda can't stand the thought of Jason giving up on his dreams so she decides to mount his play - a dark, angst-ridden, ambitious work - as a Kingston High School production, with flamboyant drama teacher Carl Kapinas (Nathan Lane) directing. As Linda, now well out of her normal comfort zone, takes further risks in life and love, the stage is set for highly comic downfall. With the play, her reputation, and her teaching career on the line, Linda finds an unlikely ally in herself. Amidst the ruins of her formerly perfect life, can she find a way to her own unique storybook ending?
Cynthia S

Super Reviewer

December 28, 2013
Narration throughout this American movie by a lady from England. Dad decides to date the adult woman who slept with his college age son. Same woman (the teacher) gets fired for having sex in her classroom, then is rehired right back (and accepted) as if nothing ever happened....What could possibly go wrong with this movie?...

Super Reviewer

August 31, 2013
Drama, comedy?? Questionable on the comedy side, acting was much to be desired and not even Nathan Lane could bring in any laughs!
Dann M

Super Reviewer

March 20, 2014
The offbeat comedy The English Teacher delivers some laughs, but it isn't nearly as clever as it pretends to be. When a high school English teacher attempts to put on a play written by one of her former students she ends up developing romantic felling for him. Starring Julianne Moore, Greg Kinnear, Lily Collins, and Nathan Lane, the cast is quite impressive and delivers some good performances. Additionally there's a quirky sense of humor to the film that gives it a unique tone. But before long it falls into cliches and stereotypes. The English Teacher is a decent bit of entertainment, but it's also formulaic and predictable.
Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron W. Johnson

Super Reviewer

September 8, 2013
It's a Tribeca Film Festival entry about a high school English teacher in Kingston, Pennsylvania, so you know that this is going to be so mind-numbingly fascinating that you might have to take a nap through it from the exhaustion. No, I'm kidding, this film is adequately entertaining, because, really, how dryly formal can you make a film about a high school English teacher when it's written by people who wrote a run of "The Silver Surfer"? That's not exactly a "Scarlet Letter" type of classic American literature piece, so this film is bound to be a little bit lively, and not just because it's hard to make a film featuring Nathan Lane all that dull. I'm glad to see that big ball of gay is still alive, and I'm sure glad to see that Julianne Moore's and Greg Kinnear's careers are still alive after "Movie 43", and if think that it's weird to refer to this film as a reflection of that, seeing as how this film was shot long before the release of "Movie 43" earlier this year, well, "Movie 43" was such a disaster that I would figure they would shut down any project featuring the people involved in it, no matter how low-profile it may be. Hey, maybe this really was a big Hollywood project, but once "Movie 43" came out, the studios immediately transferred ownership to Artina Films, credited the big-name director of episodes of shows like "The Big C", "Nurse Jackie", "Entourage", "The Office", etc., and destroyed as much evidence as they could that would reveal this "small-profile" project as a Hollywood production (Yeah, Alan Smithee can choke on that method of identity concealment). Shoot, forget "Movie 43", I can think of a few people who would go so far as to say that they might try to conceal the profile grade of this project because the project itself didn't come out the way they were hoping it would. Okay, maybe people aren't complaining about this film that much, but this isn't exactly as liked as your usual "low-profile" (Yeah, sure) comedy, and quite frankly, while I like this film, I can see some of what they're complaining about.

As you can probably imagine, this relatively harmless comedy hardly has any meat to its story, and I suppose I'm fine with that, seeing as this story is fun enough to make an entertaining little lick, juiciness in concept, alone, is dried to the point of aimlessness, with thin conflicts and thin characterization, made all the lazier by conventionalism. On top of being kind of meatless, this film offers hardly anything refreshing when it comes to its stories and characters, and if you feel that that comes as no surprise, well, there is some potential in this film for something of a change of pace, something that is ultimately exchanged for trope after trope, partially thanks to the film's paying only so much attention to fleshing out its characters as refreshing. The film is underdeveloped, as well as thin in conflict and formulaic in structure, and if there weren't plenty of colorful areas in characterization, as well as such heart to the performances, you would end up with some somewhat hollow-feeling character types, and it doesn't help that this film has a tendency to get its tropes from certain logically questionable comedies. I'm certainly not asking for a whole lot to buy into when it comes to something that is about as fluffy as a festival film can be, but this film is hinged in a lot of way on the selling of its premise and characters, and while this flick isn't completely out there, its characters are not consistently believable, and the buyability of the story is also questionable, to the point of distancing you about as much as a sense of distance to Craig Zisk's storytelling. This is the first feature film directed by Zisk, who, as Wikipedia will tell you, has dipped his toes in over 50 TV shows, and I'm sorry, but it can't possibly be all that easy to wash that much TV flavor off, and sure enough, there's a certain TV-esque distance to the heart of this film that still leaves behind enough perk to sustain entertainment value, but offers no real juice. There's a certain coldness throughout this film that waters down what kick there is to this fluffy story concept, and I can get past that, because this is still a pretty decent film, and one that doesn't hold too much potential to squander, though that's not to say that thinness, conventionalism, questionable story structuring and underwhelming direction don't leave this film to lose something pretty much: something all that worth remembering. Only so many of this films 93 minutes are especially memorable, and yet, the film is by no means a waste of time, at least to me, offering only so much, but also offering plenty to entertain, even in the stylistic department.

The film isn't even outstanding on a stylistic level, but it's not like it's entirely flat when it comes to its visual artistry, as there's a certain tasteful crispness to Vanja Cernjul's cinematography that perks things up about as much as Rob Simonsen's trite, but reasonably colorful score. If nothing else reinforces entertainment value, it's the film's style, which, even then, has only so much to it, but nevertheless flavors up a thin story concept that is still colorful enough to deserve some polish. It's no surprise that this comedy's fluffy story hardly has any meat to it, nor is it any surprise that many an aspect is tainted by tropes, but there is a particularly hefty amount of questionable character actions and plot beats that could make a lesser story weak, but this film offers subject matter that, while limited, is colorful, with a certain wit that is admittedly done a fair bit of justice at times in the screenwriting departments. Dan and Stacy Chariton's script isn't too much sharper than the story concept it interprets, but this is still colorful subject matter, ergo this is quite the colorful screenplay, with some effective pieces of humor for every fall-flat piece, as well as some lively pieces of characterization for every undercooked and questionable piece, all brought to life, at least to some degree, by Craig Zisk's colorful direction. Now, as I said, Zisk's storytelling is very TV-esque, having not a whole lot of kick to it, but still quite a bit of consistency in entertainment value, which is often just plain thorough, as well as backed by a certain heart that is anchored by the colorful performances. If nothing else is consistent about this film, it is a certain charisma that is found throughout a colorful cast of talents, but is particularly relatively outstanding within some of your higher-ups in the cast hierarchy, with Nathan Lane pretty much stealing the show with this predictably thoroughly charming and dead-on portrayal of the flamboyant "man" of the theatre, while Michael Angarano engagingly convinces as the uncertain artist about as much as Julianne Moore engagingly convinces as the unfulfilled romantic who finds herself coming to terms with the hard reality as fantasies begin to crumble upon her. Really, there are some layers to Moore's performance that feel like more than a film like this deserves, and while those layers are too sparsely presented to do much of anything when it comes to picking momentum up all that much, Moore's performance is just one of quite a few elements that keep the final product going as endearing, even if there's only so much that's truly worth remembering all that much.

When this course is concluded, aimless natural shortcomings, formulaic and, in some areas, questionable story structuring, and a pretty TV-esque distance to directorial storytelling leave the final product to fall short of particularly memorable, though there is enough perk to the cinematography, color to the story concept, - flavored up by highlights in writing - and charisma to the performances - particularly those of Nathan Lane, Michael Angarano and Julianne Moore - to make "The English Teacher" a pretty entertaining, if somewhat forgettably underwhelming flick.

2.5/5 - Fair

Super Reviewer

August 27, 2013
This comedy directed by Craig Zisk had a potential with stars like gorgeous Julianne Moore, Greg Kinnear and Michael Angarano, but at the end felt flat. There were few funny moments in the screenplay written by Dan and Stacy Chariton, but even with the amazing performances from the actors and frisky direction by Zisk, the excitement was very short lived.

The story of Linda Sinclair (Moore), a high school English teacher in the small town of Kingston, Pennsylvania had its ups and downs... She is passionate about her subject and popular with her students, but lives alone in a simple existence. When her former pupil Jason Sherwood (Angarano) returns after failing to succeed as a playwright, Linda convinces him to produce his play at the school. Jason's overbearing father, Dr. Tom Sherwood (Kinnear), pressures him to attend law school instead. Of course, I don't want to reveal the story, and I'll just say, there were few relationship complications during the process of producing the play. Some were funny, others non-inspiring, and at the end I could not give more than 50%.

I wish that in his directorial debut Zisk used his cast more - the guy definitely has style, but inexperience in bringing us incisive character study was obvious. At moments I felt pleasant, but very often uncomfortable with the forced dialogue and students who were acting as anything but students! Too erratic for my taste.
Christopher H

Super Reviewer

May 28, 2013
What is with outsider point-of-view narration? Apart from being distracting and out of place, there's simply just no need for it in most films, especially a comedy. Cheapening the experience and taking away from actually forming a character in front of us instead of telling us all the about the character, the only film I truly loved outsider narration was "Stranger Than Fiction" because there was a reason and it was hilarious. Narration from the characters is a different story, as it often works much better, and its a voice we recognize and can become attached to, but there's simply no reason that "The English Teacher" needed to explain Linda's (Julianna Moore) history with someone we never see and have zero connection to. When Jason (Michael Angarano) returns home after going away to a professional life, he runs into his old English teacher, Linda, who talks him into presenting his play as the next high school theater show. With the help of the drama teacher (Nathan Lane) and a gorgeous high school girl (Lily Collins), the play begins to form success. That is, until Linda gets intimate with Jason on her desk. Despite sounding like a decent drama, director Craig Zisk straddles the comedic boundaries through most of the film and never allows for any real emotional connections to occur. Not a great showing from anyone involved, this is a very cut and dry dark comedy. We get to know Linda through the voice over, but Jason remains a mystery even through the conclusion of the film. Lacking that emotional and character development, "The English Teacher" becomes just as absent as the play being presented on stage, just successful actors moving through fake people's lives, producing no real highlights, but rather a mundane and by-the-numbers exhibition.
April 23, 2014
This story was suprisingly delightful. The narrator was a strange addition to the movie until you settle into the idea of being told a story. I loved the cast in this and the sending was adorable.
August 17, 2013
One of these years the exceptionally talented Julianne Moore will finally win a deserved Oscar ... but it isn't going to be 2013 for the highly disappointing The English Teacher, a film in which she plays the eccentric titular small town school teacher whose life of embraced solitude and literature-based best friends is turned upside down (by her own doing) when a former student (Michael Angarano - Almost Famous) returns home after a failed attempt at playwriting in NYC brings him back to town where he is being influenced by his father (Greg Kinnear - Little Miss Sunshine) to give up the arts to pursue a more lucrative career in law. Moore's Ms. Sinclair hopes to influence her former student to keep his dream alive by staging a high school drama production of his (quite adult) play; but nothing goes as smoothly as she had anticipated and much trouble and turmoil is brought about at the school because of her meddling. Most of the characters here are shallow and/or absurd caricatures -- such as the school drama teacher (Nathan Lane - The Birdcage) -- and additional faculty and students -- Lily Collins (Mirror Mirror), Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray), Jessica Hecht (Dan in Real Life) -- over-complicate the plot and cause confusion. None of them help with the story although Collins is undoubtedly a rising star. Moore is such a good actress that she has already picked up four Oscar nominations -- Boogie Nights, The End of the Affair, The Hours, Far From Heaven -- and has also been snubbed for just as many performances worthy of recognition -- A Single Man, Short Cuts, The Kids Are All Right, Safe. Had her HBO film Game Change been eligible for Oscar recognition, she'd surely have won another nomination for her spot-on depiction of the polarizing (sometime) politician Sarah Palin as Moore gave the larger-than-life individual eye-opening moments of heart, frustration and exasperation that reminded Palin's detractors she was a human being with a wide range of emotions and strong familial loyalty worthy of respect. The English Teacher doesn't allow Moore any real moment(s) to shine and it actually makes her Ms. Sinclair a most unlikeable character and one worthy of rooting against. The film sadly points out that some of the dreams we have don't matter in the grand scheme of things as others don't find them important enough to appreciate. It is a sad thought and one that deserved a better film in which to be acknowledged. As is ... The English Teacher doesn't provide a winning argument in its favor ... and people will continue not caring.
Angelo Dean
July 12, 2014
2.5 Stars, I liked this movie started but just didn't like how it turned out. Wasted the potential of being a decent film.
June 12, 2014
"Bad Teacher" was even better than this,,
April 3, 2014
"The English Teacher" is one of the ridiculous comedy ever!" The performances by the hole cast are horrendous. The directing by Craig Zisk is cockamamie. The screenplay by Dan Chariton and Stacy Chariton is extremely foolish and tedious. And the score is okay. "I'm raving that "The English Teacher" is monotonous that will bored you half to death. Not a must see!!!"
Mike N.
March 22, 2014
A entertaining story with an interesting character thats played by julianne moore.
Dann M

Super Reviewer

March 20, 2014
The offbeat comedy The English Teacher delivers some laughs, but it isn't nearly as clever as it pretends to be. When a high school English teacher attempts to put on a play written by one of her former students she ends up developing romantic felling for him. Starring Julianne Moore, Greg Kinnear, Lily Collins, and Nathan Lane, the cast is quite impressive and delivers some good performances. Additionally there's a quirky sense of humor to the film that gives it a unique tone. But before long it falls into cliches and stereotypes. The English Teacher is a decent bit of entertainment, but it's also formulaic and predictable.
December 30, 2013
Wonderful performance from Juliane Moore and a very funny as always performance from Nathan Lane. It was a nice story but could have been funnier. Other than that it was a good movie
December 27, 2013
It's hard to dislike Julianne Moore. The movie is fluff, but enjoyable.
December 22, 2013
This film has funny moments, and interesting plot twists, but does not have a very satisfactory ending.
December 21, 2013
Julianne Moore and Nathan Moore were as watchable as ever.
Dominic S.
December 20, 2013
A complete and total waste of Julianne Moore's time and talents, however, this story line was very interesting and I rather enjoyed some of it, and not just because the film also starred such Broadway legends like Nathan Lane and Norbert Leo Butz, whom I adore.
This film is about what happens when a lonely high school english teacher runs into a former student of hers, reads his play that he attempted to have produced on Broadway, and decides to have the play put on in the high school. The relationships that blossom, the drama that happens outside of rehearsal, and the reputations that are struck down and brought back up again, all happen as a result.
Very interesting story and worth the netflix.
The English Teacher, I give you a 60%.
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