A Teacher - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Teacher Reviews

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Super Reviewer
May 28, 2017
Cautionary tale about a young teacher who gets involved with a teenage student. The teacher was very sympathetic considering the subject matter could have been icky.
Brief at 77 minutes long. Nicely acted.
May 24, 2017
Between a 5/10 and 6/10, 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.
February 28, 2017
This film requires a few mental /aesthetic adjustments, and isn't for everybody: briefly, A Teacher might work for you if you're more interested in character than story.

It isn't a "story." The story is boilerplate stuff: a teacher and a student have an affair. No surprises, because the outcome is inevitable.

Rather, the film is a microscope on the emotional body language and psychology of obsession (technically, "limerence" is the word) of impossible desire. And Lindsay Burdge, if you keep your eyes on her, is well worth watching. She nails the way that anxiety and social pressure compress happy love into an obsession that destroys a person's happiness, mental health, and eventually, life.

The cinematography is deliberately claustrophobic, and the shots really long, because the film is aiming at the ambivalence of the central relationship: the love, the lust, the fear, the anxiety, even at times the loathing that one quick look doesn't quite grasp. This movie will bore you if you need something to happen; but it might be your thing if you want to know what it feels like when the small things that happen feel bigger than the whole world.
½ September 16, 2016
Lindsay Burdge as Mrs. Watts is a nuanced casting choice to reflect a teacher who might find herself involved in an affair with an opportunistic student like Eric. She's comely but plain, aging but young, a couple of birthmarks on her head and neck to make her just insecure enough about her sexual future that she might need to absorb the energy of a youth in a more adventurous sexcapade. Dangerously, she begins to fall in love, and while Eric is with her most of the way, there comes a tense point she starts to cross the line. It's when this tension hits that the viewer is on edge. It plays on the tension of getting caught, that's what has me holding my breath.

Stylistically it's hard to get behind modern naturalism in a high-school setting, it's just so dull seeing people behave this way. One of the best things in film and theatre is getting a break from the way people actually behave; films tend to show us how we'd like to see people behaving, or rather what's beneath behavior. It's a humorless movie while maintaining interest through suspense and hysteria. Another film dealing with pedophilia is Lolita, which hardly has a dry moment not imbued with dark humor.

Parallel image - Watts driving along in the opening, again near the end, although the background has changed. It's a character revealing moment vs the mundane backdrop of her life. The discomfort we feel when, following the first of these, a pledge of allegiance standard routine in class, Watts leading it. What are our teachers thinking at this point of the day? What are they thinking about us? Are any of them getting turned on? Curiosities are peaked. I think audiences are afraid of allowing the discomfort to unfold, but if they let go of their prejudices, they might find interesting thoughts occur while watching the picture.

But why should something like this happen? That always seems to be the question we have about these kinds of relationships, and I'm forced to counter with: why not? Beneath the stigma of society, it's two fairly young people attracted to each other engaging in what they enjoy, no judgment, no labels. People looking for a deep character study that diagnoses Watts will be disappointed, and I don't think we need to see that. Her life is pretty ordinary, which is exactly the problem. We see her having Thanksgiving with her family, a still life in front of the TV watching football, that's all. Nothing harsh, she wasn't beaten by daddy, nobody raped her [as far as we know] - life is boring and it needs a little sugar and spice. That's the essence of rule breaking.

Once she starts losing Eric, she starts losing herself and her grip on reality. One aspect of Watts' psyche can be diagnosed: she's manic. The most heart-pounding suspense is her daring attempt to talk to Eric at his home, hysterical that he won't talk to her on the phone. Draped in sweats, speeding in her station wagon, she awkwardly shows up, calls the house, has the nerve to speak to her father, then greater nerve to get out of the car and approach his house, where she lures him from the window. It's an uncomfortable moment, especially when Eric's father comes out. She gets away with a hood up just in time to go unnoticed. But we only think that, she's not getting away at this point. In her attempt to run away, showing up at a motel, she gets a call - the principal needs her to come in right away. Imagine this, being her, getting that call, what it all feels like. It's a film about getting caught, how your heart stops when it happens, the fear of facing society and yourself reflected against it.
August 17, 2016
Not a whole lot to say about this movie really. Doesn't surprise me that the ratings are low, it doesn't have a lot going for it. It's one of those films you know exactly what you are getting going in, and then that's exactly what you get. And if you expect it to surprise or excite you, it will let you down. Having said that, I didn't think it was horrible. Have you ever seen one of those stories in the news about a female teacher being intimate with a student and thought to yourself: "what was she thinking? "If you want to know what she was thinking, watch this movie! Seriously! watching Lindsay Burdge's situation and emotional state slowly degrade is the only thing there is to this movie.
February 18, 2016
This could have been good, but the plot unraveled and went nowhere in the end.
February 3, 2016
Lindsay Burdge was very compelling in this role and I really enjoyed her work. I fellt the story lacked a bit of closure, though, as we can only assume why she became involved in the affair in the first place. Very vague clues about her past relationships and family leave you wondering whether she was severely emotionally scarred, or just reckless. Her descent into raw vulnerability left me squirming uneasily.
January 21, 2016
Very slow, but I think it has to be to get inside the head of the teacher. It's watchable.
December 24, 2015
Uninspiring, bland. A lot more could have been done to offer insight. Two stars for actress Diane.
½ October 26, 2015
A very interesting view from a forbidden love. Great music and visuals.
½ September 23, 2015
There is a sad lack of action in this movie, and it is never really clear what drives our leading lady to break down during the movie, as there is no outer treat. One can only assume there is an inner battle we cannot see or know off
½ September 23, 2015
"A Teacher" boasts the promise of a independent feature treading over murky waters, in this romantic drama with an unsettling twist, however the film is so incredibly boring that anything achieved by the actors falls completely flat on its face. "A Teacher" follows the life of Dianna, a youthful and troubled high school teacher, who we soon discover is having a relationship with one of her students Eric. The couple at first, manage to hide their affair with each other from the public, however the further into the relationship Dianna gets, her mental state really begins to unhinge, as the prospect of losing everything begins to win over. "A Teacher's" premise is not at all weak, there is plenty to play with, emotionally and character wise, however the actual meat of the piece, the entire premise that should have us all gripping the couch in horror, just is not executed well at all. The acting by Lindsay Burdge and Will Brittain is actually watchable and indeed quite strong, the couple do convey a solid sense of chemistry throughout the piece and both manage to steer the relationship into damaged territory, its just the film is written and filmed in such a boring manner, that nothing in this film really happens. We follow Dianna about mostly, getting zero idea of what Eric is actually like as a human being, we only see his character from the one dimension of his trying to impress an older woman, nothing else, its hard then to sympathize with him or indeed feel a lot of his emotion, due to the fact that, we just dont know enough about him. The work that Brittian pulls off is decent, but his character is so poorly structured, a lot of the time he just comes off as a horrible human beings, something I cant help but feel shouldnt be the case here. Burdge has a lot more to play with here, she is given a wealth of opportunity to show some creative and mixed emotions, but the surroundings we find ourselves in, more often than not, are extremely tedious and boring. I think the message the film is trying to convey is something that should be addressed and the content here isnt exactly shown as black and white, which is completely the route to go down, however we just dont get enough of what matters, the relationship. The film goes for the typical style that independent films are by now, well known for, however it never stands out, only when for some reason the slow motion hurts your eyes, which is not a one time thing, these segments feel like the frame rate hasnt been set properly for the effect and the constant slow motion is just literally an eye sore. There really is not a whole lot on offer here, it should be a gripping drama, soaked in sympathy and tension, instead its just a set of boring images, that really never go anywhere. Complete waste of time.
½ September 9, 2015
In some parts is slow and it could be better.
August 22, 2015
The plot is simple. The experience and looming consequences are dangerously complex. Hannah Fidell approaches the topic of a young female high school teacher who encages in an affair with one of her senior-age students without background or detail. This is a bit of genius as it allows her leading actor, Linday Burdge, an unbridled opportunity to fully explore her character without the burden of following a more "familiar" connect-the-dots screenplay. Burdge is more than up for the task.

Fidell establishes the tone of the film utilizing abrupt editing, intense musical score and off-kilter camera perspectives. We are given just enough information about the protagonist to know that she is on the verge of crisis. The film needs no dialog or "set-up" to understand how a mutually erotic flirtation swells into something far more menacing.

At the end of the day, this is an artistic portrait of a woman pushed to her emotional and psychological limits. She hides her pain, loneliness and isolation so well that it is barely detectable as she interacts with others. The exception being her lover who is far too immature to understand the area into which he stumbles. This film is not "provocation" or "salacious." Fidell avoids those traps. However, she is smart enough to create more than a little erotic tension.

Unpredictable, unflinching, dark and with a constant tone of threat -- "A Teacher" is a horrifying film. It should not be missed. I'm particularly disappointed with The New York Times and NPR for failing to grasp what this experimental film manages to achieve.
½ July 18, 2015
A teacher is a movie about a single teacher of a local high school and the inappropriate relationship she has with one of her students. Basically in a nutshell the movie revolves around the start of their relationship and the conclusion..
This is not a movie for all. I did not like it either.
July 18, 2015
A teacher falls for a student then tells him to go away, then wants him back. Knowing what she does puts her career in jepody. It's all about the sex.
March 13, 2015
I don't get all the low reviews for this movie. I thought the acting by both leads was brilliant. With the exception of the last scene, the score created tension throughout the film.
March 8, 2015
Horrible stupid movie. Thumbs down :(
March 8, 2015
I'm glad I watched it on Netflix and didn't specifically pay to watch it.
January 25, 2015
I'm not understanding why the reviews are so negative. The film was internal, intense, and open to interpretation. The series of events was a complete buildup to a realistic ending.
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