Directed by Sofia Colangelo
Starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gael Garcia Bernal
I came to see this movie because of Maggie Gyllenhaal, I am a fan of her work and I had never seen this film before and did not even know it existed. It had interesting so with Hurricane Fiona visiting Puerto Rico I used the “free” time to see it. The movie is based on an Israeli film with the same name.
The story centers around Lisa Spinelli. She is a kindergarten teacher, married with two kids. She is taking poetry classes at night but her work is considered bad and that is hard for her because she is feeling dissatisfied with her life. Then one day Jimmy who is a kid from her class recites a poem that is deep beyond his age and she becomes obsessed with the kid and his talent.
The first thing that intrigued me was that the synopsis said that she became obsessed with a student, but given that it was kindergarten, it could not be the usual teacher-student affair. I did not expect it to be that it would be over his talent. For me the thing she does are disturbing without being obvious, no abuse or anything takes place, is just how she feeds off him and uses him to feel better.
The movie itself was good. The story for me took an overused theme and gave it a new spin, even if it might have been done before, at least for me it felt like a different obsession story. I think it was well-written and the main character with all her flaws keeps you hooked to see how far she would go and, in the end, we get to see it. It’s a character that is both a victim and the villain and a subtle one in that. The one thing I have to say is that it is a slow film and I don’t think it was intended for it to be a film to give suspense, it is a story and that is the attraction.
Maggie Gyllenhaal gives an amazing performance. She is captivating and can give us a flawed character without any fear on screen. She delivers a vulnerable performance, when we finally get to see why she is doing everything she is doing, Maggie delivers it in a way that we feel her pain. The kid who played Jimmy was also great.
The film is not great but it does have some things that make it worth seeing. The story is good and Gyllenhaal’s performance.