Best Of The Web
“There are very few actors who can credibly convey intellectual desperation, but Maggie Gyllenhaal is one of them. In “The Kindergarten Teacher,” a riveting remake of Nadav Lapid’s 2015 Israeli drama of the same name, she plays Lisa, a Staten Island kindergarten teacher in her 40s whose serene existence hides a gnawing hunger for a life filled with art and literature.
An evening poetry-writing class only reveals her own mediocre talent, no matter how encouraging her charming instructor (Gael García Bernal). Her husband (Michael Chernus) is supportive but floored by her frustration, her teenage children buried in their own screens and schedules. Then, one day, a little boy in her class delivers, trance-like, a few lines of startlingly evocative verse. Believing him a prodigy — an awareness of the difference between poets and pretenders is both her gift and her curse — Lisa scribbles down his words as if delivered by a seer.
Fluidly capturing the trajectory of a ruinous obsession, the writer and director, Sara Colangelo, skillfully fudges the line between mentoring and manipulation, and between nurturing talent and appropriating it. Suffusing each scene with an insinuating, prickly tension, she remains ruthlessly committed to her screw-tightening tone, offering the viewer no comforting moral escape hatch.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"Let’s hope the February meeting does not occur. Trump had been successful through the middle of May of last year when he was pressuring—but not talking to—the North Koreans."
"...taking seriously Dr. King’s critique of Northern liberalism means also calling out liberal public officials and residents who profess commitments to equality yet maintain a corrupt criminal justice system and a segregated school system."
"There are now three “states” involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Hamas in Gaza, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and Israel. Any attempt to move the peace process forward must account for this reality."
"In director Chris Smith's new Netflix documentary, Fyre – about the "elephant of a clusterf--k" that Fyre Festival actually became – we see footage of tech entrepreneur and Fyre founder Billy McFarland telling a bunch of the world's biggest supermo"
"The government shutdown flooded folks with fear. Yet it shouldn’t. The aftermath of shutdowns is also great, with U.S. stocks averaging 12.8 percent in the next 12 months."
"Channel surfing feels futile, if not obsolete. TV is no longer a remote-controlled menu to peruse as much as it’s a Tube Goldberg machine carrying our eyes from one diversion to the next."
"Natalie Wynn, the creator of the comico-philosophical YouTube channel ContraPoints, wanted to make a video that was both more trenchant and entertaining than the others. "
"Fukuyama’s new book does contain a thesis. As it happens, the new idea stands in the sharpest possible contrast to the older one. Liberal democracy, far from showing us a glimpse of a universalist future, now, we are told, faces a severe crisis. "
"...the FDA's newfound sense of urgency regarding teen e-cigarette use is overdue. Beyond the nicotine in e-cigarettes, there are other less well-understood chemical threats like diacetyl..."
"Vegetable-themed snacks like cauliflower puffs and Peatos aren’t traditional potato chips, but they’re not not chips, either."
"Homo erectus was in the news over 2018 thanks to new discoveries in the Philippines and China, which have transformed our understanding of this not too distant family member."
"I am Jewish and queer. But neither of these identities managed to make an impact on the co-chairs of the Women’s March as I begged them, again and again, to take my pain seriously."