Parents' Guide to

The English Teacher

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Devoted teacher makes a fateful mistake in solid comedy.

Movie R 2013 91 minutes
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In some ways, The English Teacher is a surprise delight, offering a Moore we've scarcely seen before -- funny, confused, woebegone. If she's paying homage to anyone, it's to Matthew Broderick's well-meaning-but-ultimately-misguided teacher in Election, with which The English Teacher shares many insightful moments. The direction is light handed, the pacing speedy enough to create a frothy, entertaining meditation on art and the ways it's circumvented by good intentions (and on the ways in which writers take great pains to appear miserable to support their image as "artistes").

What the films lacks, however, is depth -- anyone who appreciated dramedies like The Descendants and, yes, Election, can attest to the existence of wisdom in even the most hilarious of set-ups. Who is Linda? What motivates her to do the things she does? Moore makes the most of her role, but the script shies away from bigger questions and neglects the gifts of Kinnear, who plays a dad bearing a reputation darker than he deserves.

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