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'The English Teacher' could benefit from being a bit more daring

'The English Teacher' follows Julianne Moore as a high school English teacher who becomes fascinated with a former student.

By Peter RainerFilm critic / May 17, 2013

'The English Teacher' stars Julianne Moore (l.) and Greg Kinnear (r.).

Nicole Rivelli/Cinedigm/AP

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Julianne Moore plays a spinsterish Pennsylvania high school instructor in “The English Teacher.” The most pressing question I took away from the film is, Are they really still teaching "A Tale of Two Cities" in honors English classes?

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We’re supposed to see Moore’s Linda as a hothouse flower disguised as a wallflower. When an former student, Jason (Michael Angaro), now a struggling New York playwright, returns home, she finds herself as wrapped up in him as in his new play. (Greg Kinnear does a nice supporting job as Jason’s dad.)

She and the school drama coach (a funny-campy Nathan Lane) convince the school’s principal (Jessica Hecht) to stage the play despite its outré trappings. Would that “The English Teacher” were a bit more outré itself. Grade: B (Rated R for language and some sexual content.)

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