A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Teacher is a mature drama series about an illicit, sexual affair between a high school teacher and her student. The show depicts the predator's grooming of her victim, as well as the ensuing relationship and its fallout. Strong sexual content, including intercourse and male and female masturbation, is frequently depicted. Teens are shown in their underwear in sexual situations. Teenage boys make sexual comments about their female peers. Pregnancy and ovulation is discussed. Foul language, including "f--k," "s--t," "d--k," "bitch," "ass," and "pissed," is used frequently. Characters, including teenagers, consume alcohol and smoke marijuana. A reference to being "stoned" is made. A teenager is given a breathalyzer test by a police officer. A woman shoplifts, and lies to her husband about meeting her underage student.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
A TEACHER tells the story of an illicit, sexual relationship between high school teacher Claire (Kate Mara) and her student Eric (Nick Robinson.) The eight-episode mini-series deals with both the predator's grooming of the victim, as well as the ensuing, emotional affair. The consequences of the taboo relationship, and how they affect all involved is also covered. The story spends plenty of time with both characters, focusing on their individual perspectives of the situation, as well as diving into their lives and relationships outside of the affair.
Is it any good?
A Teacher refreshingly tackles its shocking subject matter without sensationalizing it or following the expected, lurid path. While it pulls no punches -- both digging into the emotionally heavy, sensitive subject matter and depicting its sexual nature, it generally does so without heading into well-trodden, tabloid territory. The story takes its time and shows restraint, especially early on. It doesn't immediately introduce its two main characters as predator and victim in an illicit relationship, but fills in some of the blanks of their backstories, setting the stage for what's to come. Credit is due to Mara and Robinson, whose layered performances allow you to see how such an unfathomable situation can believably progress from taboo temptation to something much worse.
The dark, emotional nature of the narrative won't be for everyone, as it's a cautionary tale that has no problem taking some pretty uncomfortable turns. And while its episodic format allows it to build slowly -- usually to the benefit of its mature storytelling -- it can also linger a bit too long in those unsettling places. Still, if you're in the mood for a mature story on a subject that's too often played for shock value, A Teacher offers a compelling, nuanced take that could fetch some praise for its performers come awards season.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about A Teacher's depiction of high school life. Does it accurately represent students and teachers? Is the dialog between the teenagers believable? Does it depict the teens' life outside of school accurately?
Why is the relationship between Claire and Eric wrong? What are the possible emotional consequences of such a relationship? What are the legal ramifications?
What is the impact of Claire and Eric's relationship on their friends and families? How does it effect Eric's schooling? How does it effect Claire's professional life?
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