A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Selfless devotion to other people isn't always rewarded, and some people who think they're only trying to help others may have ulterior motives. Sometimes you have to look a little deeper to determine what people want and what they're trying to accomplish.
Positive Role Models
Linda is a dedicated teacher who's devoted to her students, but she makes a series of fateful mistakes that threatens to destroy her career. It's a bleak reward for a momentary misjudgment, and it's not clear whether she can redeem herself.
Violence & Scariness
A woman fends off a potential mugger with pepper spray. She later uses it on someone during a bitter argument. A father and son have a heated argument.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One somewhat inappropriate sexual encounter between a teacher and a former student; very little is actually shown.
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Moderate swearing throughout the film includes "s--t," "f--k," "bitch," "butt," and "bulls--t."
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Products & Purchases
One person uses a Mac laptop. A character seems to have a weakness for Utz potato chips.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A few scenes show adults drinking at a restaurant.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The English Teacher is an indie comedy about a high school teacher who has a series of seemingly small moral lapses (and one big one) that ultimately compromise her character. Expect a few sexual situations -- without any sensitive bits shown -- as well as some swearing ("s--t," "f--k"). Characters argue, and a woman uses pepper spray a couple of times. Some social drinking by adults. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.