Directed by Hannah Fidell
Starring Lindsay Burdge, Will Brittain
Playing at Village 7
“A Teacher” offers a credible depiction of an illicit teacher-high school student relationship, a focused portrait of its destructive power. Writer-director Hannah Fidell and star Lindsay Burdge realistically explore the impulses and insecurities that could lead to this event.
But “A Teacher” is rather cold, and could have used some more humanity or, at the very least, dramatic excitement.
Fidell shoots the movie like a horror film, emphasizing bleak settings and a score filled with dissonant sounds. It’s an intriguing approach that promises a depiction of the main character’s despair.
What we get instead are long, slow scenes of Diana Watts (Burdge) secretly meeting up with and making love to her student Eric Tull (Will Brittain), separated by interludes in which the teacher broods.
Burdge is terrific, conveying the character’s imperfections in thoughtful shyness and a desperate drive to be desired.
Fidell’s screenplay smartly establishes the contrast between Diana’s perspective on the relationship and Eric’s, who is clearly just happy to be having sex.
It’s almost hard to believe that “A Teacher” never quite works. If you had to boil the movie’s problem down to its essence, however, it’s this: There’s no reason to care.