The Kindergarten Teacher: is this Maggie Gyllenhaal's finest performance to date?

the Guardian | 10/12/2018 | Guy Lodge

Famously boozy and bought-off, the Golden Globe awards ceremony is not a place you traditionally turn for lucid insights on art and the state of the industry. Yet on winning one three years ago, for her performance in the BBC’s The Honourable Woman, Maggie Gyllenhaal managed one. Eschewing the usual long list of thank-yous, she instead launched into a tidy dismantling of strained Hollywood cliches about “powerful women” – ones she had presumably heard a lot in response to her garlanded role as a high-powered businesswoman and life peer mired in personal and political crisis.

5 out of 5 stars.

Room - Women - Performances - Year - Women

“When I look around the room at the women who are in here, and I think about the performances that I’ve watched this year,” she said, “what I see, actually, are women who are sometimes powerful and sometimes not, sometimes sexy, sometimes not, sometimes honourable, sometimes not. And what I think is new is the wealth of roles for actual women in television and in film. That’s what I think is revolutionary and evolutionary and it’s what’s turning me on.”

An accurate observation in general, it was also a perfectly self-summarising soundbite from an actor who has long challenged the hoariest definitions of “strong female character” – all too often used as a blanket term for perfectly virtuous, righteous women so flawless as to be featureless, frequently dreamed up by male screenwriters too timid to look much closer at them. From Secretary to Sherrybaby, Gyllenhaal has specialised in what she termed “actual” women: disrupted and disruptive, entirely ordinary and entirely unusual, with strengths made up largely of complications.

Regard - Role - Kindergarten - Teacher - Psychodrama

In this regard, she may have found her quintessential role in The Kindergarten Teacher, a quiet but silently screaming psychodrama from writer-director Sara Colangelo, in which she stars as Lisa, a seemingly lamb-like preschool instructor...
(Excerpt) Read more at: the Guardian
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