The Kindergarten Teacher (2018)

Was not expecting this to be so perverse and uncomfortable but Maggie Gyllenhaal’s performance – embodying the kind of strange and troubling yet utterly fascinating woman she has revisited throughout her career – is wholly riveting. Sara Colangelo’s vision of Lisa’s unfulfilled life is so specific, we constantly see her in the potholes of her life – wordlessly existing in her own mind while nobody is around – that tell us everything by saying nothing. It’s unsettling to see this obsession morph her from a worn-down blur into a driven and calculated force. A conflicting film through and through that is more viscerally unnerving than most so-called horror movies. Very curious to see how much of this is down to Colangelo and Gyllenhaal’s invention and how much originates from the Israeli film it’s based on. Either way, this certainly strikes a nerve. One of the best performances of 2018.

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