Conclusion: The English Teacher doesn't lack for attempts to make the audience chuckle and agonize over the events in Linda Sinclair's tumultuous experience with producing a cherished ex-student's play, coupled with her corked-up romantic yearnings and embracing something outside her comfort zone.
Excerpt: I once had an English professor who claimed that he was a good teacher not because he cared about his students (he only cared about a few), but because he cared about literature. His students would come and go, he would give them more or less insight into literature (those insights as dependent on the students as the teacher), but his favorite authors would remain.
Conclusion: You expect an independent film to accept its limited commercial prospects and devote its efforts to being smart, different, and poignant. But sometimes, you get something like The English Teacher , that's just not funny, clever, or consistent enough to deserve being seen by a wide audience. While this comedy has a likable cast and some bright moments, it can't decide the story it wants to tell and fails to come together in a satisfying way.
Excerpt: "I know a thing or two about good stories," says Linda Sinclair (Julianne Moore), the schoolmarm at the center of The English Teacher , a screwball dramedy that proves largely incapable of making the same claim. At its heart, the film is about a reclusive and ostensibly proper middle-aged woman, who's bound for spinsterhood if she can't lower her guard and surpass the poor results of her good intentions.
Excerpt: A Jane Austen character in her own mind, Julianne Moore’s eponymous English teacher is going nowhere fast in Kingston, Pennsylvania. She grades potential suitors like she grades papers; in a montage showing her dates with various un-employeds and assholes, the movie scrawls out Moore’s comments on screen: “boring,” “arrogant,” “insane.” As narrator Fiona Shaw explains, “Her uncompromising spirit, so beloved in the classroom, doomed her to a spinster’s life.