Whether it’s in the classroom or in the bedroom, people respond to words with action. They do in The Kindergarten Teacher at least. Sara Colangelo’s remake of the 2014 Israeli film of the same name keeps the story intact, and gives Maggie Gyllenhaal the role of her career: Lisa Spinelli has been a kindergarten teacher for 20 years, but she’s never had a relationship like this one.
Her bond with five-year-old Jimmy Roy, a bright and butter-wouldn’t-melt cute kid, isn’t what it sounds like. This isn’t a horror film, or a traumatising account of what happens when an adult crosses the line – but it’s no less affecting. A spark alights in Lisa when she notices her student in some kind of trance, pacing back and forth while muttering a string of words. Without him or anyone else realising until now, it seems like Jimmy could be a prodigious poet.
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