THE ENGLISH TEACHER (NC16)
DURATION: 91 minutes
Opens on 12th September
The story: Linda Sinclair (Julianne Moore) is a high school English teacher in a small town. When a former student Jason Sherwood (Michael Angarano) comes back with an unproduced play, she decides to rope in frustrated drama teacher Carl Kapinas (Nathan Lane) to put it on. And this puts her on a collision course with Jason's father (Greg Kinnear).
At its core, The English Teacher is a character study.
Linda Sinclair is someone who has come to accept her place in life. She might never meet the right man - her dates constantly fail to make the grade - but at least she is shaping lives with her classes.
And when the opportunity comes to help a former student whom she believes is talented, she charges to the fore. She even tangles with the father, who seems more keen to have his son pursue law studies.
She has good intentions but things start to snowball and spin out of control, both with the play and her own personal life.
It is a role that can go quite dark but Craig Fisk, making his film directorial debut here, goes for more of a comic tone.
And accordingly, Julianne Moore, who has played characters in emotional pain in such films as The Hours (2002) and Far From Heaven (2002), turns in a performance here that is sunnier than usual.
But the film might have been more interesting if Zisk had pushed it more. As it is, it feels rather lightweight and the ending too neat and tidy.