Maggie Gyllenhaal has been getting the best reviews of her career for her portrayal of an increasingly creepy kindergarten teacher who develops a morally ambiguous bond with a student she think might be a child prodigy.
When a Staten Island kindergarten teacher discovers what may be a gifted five year-old student in her class, she becomes fascinated and obsessed with the child—spiraling downward on a dangerous and desperate path in order to nurture his talent.
Directed by Little Accidents helmer Sara Colangelo, the film follows Lisa (Gyllenhaal), who holds down a job instructing youngsters at a New York City school….[Her] stagnant existence gets a jolt of electricity when she overhears one of her students, Jimmy, reciting an exquisitely wrought poem by heart.
After discovering from his caretaker that Jimmy composes his own work at random, Lisa begins claiming Jimmy’s work as her own — particularly during weekly presentations at a poetry course taught by a charming professor (Gael García Bernal). From there, Lisa goes down a rabbit hole of idolization, contacting Jimmy outside school hours, staking out his home, stealing him away from a school playground, and ultimately throwing herself into a misguided plan to nurture Jimmy like a modern-day “Mozart” while shepherding his talents to a wider audience by publishing a book with his name on it.
Which – yeah, yeah – sounds like a pretty decent plot on paper, but nothing is going to prepare you for the trailer in which she becomes progressively more and more unhinged and the kid becomes increasingly more and more wary of her until…. Well, just watch below. NO REALLY. Watch it, you’re going to be hearing her name A LOT come awards season.
The Kindergarten Teacher begins streaming Oct. 12 on Netflix.