Julianne Moore stars in this sweet, warm and funny romantic comedy alongside an all-star cast of Michael Angarano, Greg Kinnear, Lily Collins and Nathan Lane. The English Teacher follows Moore as Linda Sinclair, a teacher at the local high school where she is loved by her students and she is loved by her colleagues, but there is something missing in Linda’s life; love. Despite the various dates that she seems to be set up on, she just can never find the right man and so she has fallen into a comfortable and mundane routine of meals for one in front of the television but she is happy. Like Miss Honey in Matilda, Linda gets on with all her students and is open to hearing all their opinions.
One evening she bumps into an old student of hers, Jason Sherwood (a handsome looking Angarano), who has since gained a masters in dramatic playwriting at NYU. He chances upon her at the petrol station and just when he goes up to her, she assumes he is an attacker and pepper sprays him in the eyes before realising who he is. The physical comedy of that moment is laugh out loud for the audience but also goes to show the type of person Linda is; always looking after herself. When Jason explains that he is going to be going to law school as he can’t get his thesis play performed, Linda asks to read it. The next day he turns up in the middle of class and hands the play script over to Linda, who exclaims with excitement at showing off her ex-student who has done so well for himself in her eyes. Once she reads the play, she suggests that they do a school performance of it and after the drama teacher, Carl Kapinas (Lane) also falls in love with the script, they decide that with Jason’s help and a few changes to the script they can show off the power of his writing.
Of course as with any romantic comedy, The English Teacher pretty much follows the basic formula but what is most interesting is that the Linda has relationships with both Jason and his father, Dr. Tom Sherwood (Kinnear), therefore somewhat displacing the audience’s expectations of what should happen. Along the way there is the usual drama and blips including Linda and Jason sleeping together, his lies about his family life and his father and Linda’s jealousy at Jason’s blooming relationship with drama student, Halle Anderson (Collins), but it comes together with a tight and happy bow at the end of the tale.
What is most endearing about The English Teacher is having Julianne Moore as the romantic lead; she seems to be able to take on any role and transform it into something interesting and entertaining. Her chemistry with both Angarano and Kinnear is touching and innocent and she realises right away that it was a mistake to sleep with her ex student. Furthermore, Lane is hilarious in his supporting role; he manages to capture the tension between a failed broadway actor and a teacher having a nervous breakdown in the most subtle and charming of ways. The film is well paced and there is never a dull moment throughout. Unlike the majority of romantic comedies coming out today, this one does twist along the way and also tells a moral story about following what you truly believe in because you are bound to come out in the end.
It won’t change the world and it possibly won’t be remembered tomorrow but The English Teacher is a touching and romantic story, perfect for anyone that loves a happy ending.