There is a lilt of ennui in the soft edged voice of Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Kindergarten Teacher (a Netflix original film) that hints at the sadness underneath, the ache to be discovered or find something truly great. When her character Lisa, finds the transcendental in the poetic pacing back and forth of one of her five year old students Jimmy, (Parker Sevak) she holds onto and encourages him like every bit of her inner life depends on hearing, recording and witnessing his every word. It is obsessive, bordering right on mental illness, flirts almost to the edge of transgression.
The genius of this child’s poetry is never in doubt. It is acclaimed by her writing workshop teacher, the students, even the cognoscenti of the open mic literary café. The question is do you coddle, encourage and develop Jimmy’s talent or do you allow him to be a boy and not a premature adult, a mini Mozart. Salieri answered the question with the later, while the world took the former stance.
The Kindergarten Teacher seeks a middle ground, knowing the world will misconstrue it as transgression in a universe that values the noise over deeper meaning, that misses God’s meaning in the vibrations of His voice.
The true tragedy of The Kindergarten Teacher is too not listen or have no one around when a child says “I have a poem.” To do so is to rob the world of profoundness.
The Kindergarten Teacher is a statement on why parents should always listen for the greatness in their children.