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The Teacher

The Teacher Movie Review

by rameshe

Critic’s Rating : / 5

The Teacher Movie Review : Flawed ideas and imagery

Synopsis: PE teacher Devika and her husband have been trying to be pregnant for four years. Their equation changes after she becomes pregnant and when she reveals that she has been abused by four students during a sports meet.

Review: Rape and revenge have been a cliched subject for films since Hitchcock and Bergman, or even before. If earlier, revenge was the forte of the men – who were considered entitled to protect women – be it brother, father or partner, now it’s time for women to do it for themselves. What empowerment!

Vivek’s second directorial is about a PE teacher Devika finding her relief in taking revenge against four boys who turned 19-years-old, who sexually assault her during a sports event. The movie is filled with stereotypical attitudes on society which include the notion that ‘abuse will not get justice in front of the law’ to ‘once a criminal is always a criminal’. As, ‘the teacher’ sets out to take revenge on the boys who sexually abused her, she joins the common public who believe that redeemability is impossible and castration anxiety is the only solution for those objectify women.

Apart from this, the movie also puts out some ‘interesting’ ideas on ‘strong-willed’ or ’empowered’ women. While Kalyani, a political leader who fights for the rights of people in Munroe Island, is introduced to screen, the first shot is of her smoking a beedi which is enhanced by a thumping music. It looked exactly like how hyper masculine characters are introduced on screen, then and now. Women smoking or drinking have been overrated as ‘boldness’ or signs of liberation on the silver screen. Unfortunately, it is not. Instead, it is a flawed masculine thought on women. Smoking causes nearly 5.4 million deaths every year and death doesn’t have gender discrimination. Also, the portrayal of the character seemed like an insult to revolutionaries like KR Gowriamma and activist and former naxalite K Ajitha. Kalyani uses one of the quoted dialogues of these women on police, lathi and pregnancy. Being a woman of substance is much more than having a wide chest posture, blurting out mass dialogues and smoking cigars.

Amala Paul handles her character Devika well by exuding emotions in a subtle and composed manner. Hakkim who plays her husband Sujith is a breath of fresh air. Also, Prashanth Murali makes the audience hate Kevin, an ordinary Malayali. Appearance of Chemban Vinod Jose in the film as a gay was another imposition of a flawed thought that ‘women will only be safe with men who are sexually or romantically associated with their own sex’.

The Teacher is an old wine in a new bottle where we see an uber masculine vengeful woman who embraces brutality to find solace with the support of a man, which itself is sexist. The trauma of a rape is much more than the revenge and such films do nothing but normalise the physical, emotional distress one go through.

To sum up, to quote Martin Scorsese, Violence is not the answer. Isn’t that one of the first lessons to be taught at school by a ‘teacher’?
– Anjana George

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