We all know that Julianne Moore is a great actress and has been part of several good movies in the past. In The English Teacher, she plays Linda Sinclair, the titular role that has low self-esteem. The character is too stereotyped and the movie has predictable plot. Moore can’t save the movie even if she gives it her all.
There are themes in The English Teacher that have the potential to make it a good film. Instead, director Craig Zisk opts for a fast paced narrative, stereotypical characters, and cheap laughs. Sinclair is a bookworm all her life and loves her work teaching English literature to teens. She is contented to stay at home alone.
Jason Sherwood (Michael Angarano) is one of Sinclair’s brightest students. He returns home after failing as a playwright in New York. Sinclair reads his play, which is a family drama titled The Chrysalis, and falls in love with it. She shares the manuscript with drama teacher Carl Kapinas (Nathan Lane).
Sinclair and Kapinas convince the principal (Jessica Hecht) and vice principal (Norbert Leo Butz) to allow them to put up a production of The Chrysalis as the next school project. Sherwood is reluctant about the proposal. Unknown to him, Sinclair and Kapinas changes the play’s ending to suit the request of their superiors.
And then the play is showed in The English Teacher. The supposed work of a brilliant student is not something someone should be proud of. This is one of the biggest problems in the movie. It feels like the filmmakers ran out of ideas and instead wrote a nonsense melodrama.
On the positive side, the main plot of The English Teacher is enjoyable. Sinclair gets into an argument with Sherwood’s father, a doctor played by Greg Kinnear. She has already concluded that he is the abusive father in his son’s play. The two have good on-screen chemistry but that doesn’t solve the problem of the movie’s predictability.