Maggie Gyllenhaal is a Staten Island early-childhood educator lacking something meaningful in her life who starts obsessing over a gifted student, which leads to problems too good to reveal. Suffice to say, when you watch “The Kindergarten Teacher,” Sara Colangelo’s American remake of the similarly-titled Israeli drama, you are transported into what Gyllenhaal described to me as the psyche of a “starving, vibrant woman’s mind.”
Colangelo, who stunned more than a few moviegoers with her 2014 feature directing debut “Little Accidents,” creates a film with its own unique identity, the fleshing out of a woman who desperately needs to find meaning in her life. However, the movie belongs to Gyllenhaal, in an awards-worthy performance, who, along with Colangelo’s patient camera, keeps playing with our heads throughout the proceedings. The fact that she maintains a sort of sympathetic nature to her character makes this brilliant film all the more mysterious to the eyes.
I spoke to Colangelo and Gyllenhaal about the film, which premiered on Netflix this past Friday.