Head of the Class: Four Films For World Teachers’ Day

On October 5, make watching movies required homework

On October 5, people around the world get the chance to thank those who taught them on World Teachers’ Day. Founded in 1994, this event recognizes, as its UNESCO proclamation exclaims, “the essential role of teachers in educational advancement and the importance of their contribution to the development of man and modern society.” This year’s theme will be “Young Teachers: The Future of the Profession.” There are many ways to celebrate World Teachers’ Day, from providing supplies to your local school, to calling out for more funding, to remembering fondly your favorite instructor. This year, we’re marking World Teachers’ Day by spotlighting some of our favorite cinematic educators.

The official trailer for Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? | The marvelous Mister Rogers

Morgan Neville’s touching portrait of Fred Rogers in Won’t You Be My Neighbor? took many viewers back to a time when this gentle, cardigan-wearing man was a trusted friend. Growing up in a Romanian immigrant family in Queens, NY, Roxanne Godoy learned everything she knew from him. First, he welcomed her to the neighborhood by teaching her English, then he showed her how to be a good neighbor. As Godoy explains, “I took away…the importance of having empathy for other people.” While not a teacher perse, Rogers taught multiple generations of youngsters how to love themselves, as well as others. The New York Times notes, “The most radical thing about him was his unwavering commitment to the value of kindness in the face of the world that could seem intent on devising new ways to be mean.”

Get Won’t You Be My Neighbor? now on iTunes or at Amazon.

Nicole Kidman maintains her class in the official trailer for The Beguiled

The Beguiled | The mannered Miss Farnsworth

In Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, Martha Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman) is the headmistress of a girls' school in Virginia in 1864. As the Civil War rages outside the school grounds, Farnsworth strives to maintain a refuge of grace and civility for her wards, which includes both young women (Elle Fanning) and little girls (Oona Laurence). While Miss Farnsworth strives to educate her pupils on the finer things in life, she is not beyond showing them life’s brutal truths. Indeed, when the school must take in an injured Union soldier (Colin Farrell), The Beguiled, as The Wall Street Journal succinctly puts it, “gives new and memorable meaning to the notion of a finishing school.”

Get The Beguiled now on iTunes or at Amazon.

The official trailer for Admission

Admission | The teachable Portia Nathan

In Paul Weitz’s Admission, Portia Nathan (Tina Fey) is an admission officer at Princeton University who finds the tables turned when she receives a sentimental education from a prospective candidate. When Fey visits an alternative high school run by an old friend (Paul Rudd), she meets a student who just might be the child she gave up for adoption years ago. While the film never takes itself too seriously, it nevertheless keeps its academic standards high. For Entertainment Weekly, Admission “crackles with the sound of very clever people trying to outtalk each other—an all too rare and happy thing to encounter in a Hollywood movie.”

Get Admission now on iTunes or at Amazon.

The official trailer for Hamlet 2

Hamlet 2 | Dana Marschz, superstar

In Andrew Fleming’s Hamlet 2, Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan) ends up being an inspiring teacher despite—or maybe because of—his complete ineptitude. An actor whose professional highpoint was playing a herpes sufferer in late-night pharmaceutical ads, Marschz moves to Tucson to head up a high school drama department. To parody the tradition of inspirational-teacher movies, director and co-writer Andrew Fleming created a hero who takes his very worst idea—a rock-opera sequel to the Bard’s greatest play that includes a sexy Jesus and a time machine—to its hilarious conclusion with the help of a group of young thespians. For Fleming, “There's always this one teacher in your high school who is crazy and wildly unconventional and sort of a sorry spectacle. But they end up affecting you more than the teachers who are totally together and know their stuff.”

Get Hamlet 2 now on iTunes or at Amazon.

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