As the star of movies like Secretary and Sherrybaby, Maggie Gyllenhaal has long established herself as a master of offbeat characters with dangerous obsessions. Her latest — an educator who forms a disturbing attachment to her student’s prodigious talents — takes center stage in the riveting trailer for Netflix’s upcoming drama The Kindergarten Teacher.
Directed by Little Accidents helmer Sara Colangelo, the film follows Lisa (Gyllenhaal), who holds down a job instructing youngsters at a New York City school. A struggling writer attempting to reconnect with her own artistic ambitions she put on hold years ago to raise a family, Lisa’s stagnant existence gets a jolt of electricity when she overhears one of her students, Jimmy, reciting an exquisitely wrought poem by heart.
After discovering from his caretaker that Jimmy composes his own work at random, Lisa begins claiming Jimmy’s work as her own — particularly during weekly presentations at a poetry course taught by a charming professor (Gael García Bernal). From there, Lisa goes down a rabbit hole of idolization, contacting Jimmy outside school hours, staking out his home, stealing him away from a school playground, and ultimately throwing herself into a misguided plan to nurture Jimmy like a modern-day “Mozart” while shepherding his talents to a wider audience by publishing a book with his name on it.
The Kindergarten Teacher debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival, where Gyllenhaal earned career-best reviews for her portrayal of the titular character. Following its scheduled Canadian premiere at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival in September, The Kindergarten Teacher begins streaming Oct. 12 on Netflix. Watch the film’s new trailer above.