Maggie Gyllenhaal goes too far in The Kindergarten Teacher.

July 29, 2021 By derrick
The Kindergarten Teacher

In a world that’s extremely rushed, fast paced with little or no appreciation for difference and unbraided creativity in early child development. It’s quite important to note that this movie has a similar camaraderie to the movie Gifted. Here, the conventional societally imposed conformity is yet to be expressed or rather is having a hard time gaining grounds in the life of the given child. The mind of the neo is still in its developmental form and still trying to be understood in rather thankfully someone who has noticed this aspect of brilliance in the child like the teacher in the popular Bollywood hit Like Stars on Earth. The Kindergarten Teacher, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal which was also released in the year 2018.

If you recall the dynamics of the intellectual hit ‘Gifted’ you would notice a pattern in these children which mainly includes rising far above the ‘learning’ curve if I put it in this way in lights of education and society only in this scenario the parent or guardian is rather clueless and doesn’t know what to do with the child because it was more of a generalised form of giftedness. These kind of children gets dismissed by society as being ‘mentally deranged’, one thing I ask is in The Kindergarten Teacher, the teacher is able to spot this uniqueness in this child because his field of talent matches hers. She’s an aspiring poet and he is gifted in the field of poetry. What if she was not in the field of poetry? What would have become of this unbraided child genius? So before giving Gyllenhaal all the praise in this one and even regardless of the fact that she made the right move to create an environment for the child to thrive the whole thing has a big part played by luck.

The Kindergarten Teacher shows societal conformity

Lisa Spinelli, which is the stage name of the teacher in question on her part is even a victim of the abandoned geniuses or rather the unnurtured in society. A human who desperately is on the lookout for kinship and understanding she doesn’t find it in her regular husband or her crack addicted, bland and hippy kids whom she’s tried to show the light to no avail and is on an all-out front against conventional society for ‘a lack of curiosity’ as she famously terms it and when she discovers this connection, kinship and understanding in a kindergartener she lets her all in. The lengths at which she goes exceeds beyond the teacher-pupil dynamics and is rather morphing, I wouldn’t say beautifully due to its disturbing nature to a kind of quasi-love kind of experience between as she goes to extremes to keep him by her side and it’s important to notice the innocent part of her partner who in all light of things has no idea of what is happening around him, just a basic childhood grasp of things but devoid of innate experience and understanding. Such flaring childhood uniqueness can also be seen in the movie The Glass Castle in Brie Larson though it’s very diminished and nearly missed.

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Maggie definitely crosses the societal line in the movie as her behaviour starts to turn repulsive with acts such as taking Jimmy to the bathroom and even going as far as kidnapping him. One shouldn’t try to even question such behaviour as I even dared to ask, is this the depth of awe she has for this prodigy? Or rather is it a manifestation of a rather personal defect or flaw? That she is willing to cross the line and take it this far or is she trying to send out a kind of encrypted message to the world? A message which even her prodigy I feel misunderstood and had a difficult time to decipher though he did write her a poem.

See The Movie Trailer

The movie should be seen as a teacher who tries to nurture innate talent in her pupil, everything from that line is rather personal on the sides of the teacher and raises eyebrows.

Derrick Anyanwu is a creative writer.

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