Reviewed by: Steve Bender
Starring: Molly Ringwald, Katie Holmes, Helen Mirren, Marisa Lesley, Barry Watson | Director: Kevin Williamson | Producers: Richard N. Gladstein, Cathy Konrad | Screenwriters: Kevin Williamson | Released By: Miramax
This film appeared somewhat innocent based on the cover description, so we permitted our 14 year old to select it as a rental. It was one of the most morally repulsive films I have ever watched. The lead character, Leigh Ann (Katie Holmes) begins as someone who has earned her class standing through four years of hard work, and now, with only a week before graduation, sees her hopes for college slipping away because of a vindictive Mrs. Tingle (Helen Mirren).
When her friends Jo Lyn and Luke (Marisa Lesley and Barry Watson) steal the history final to help her finish at the top of her class, she initially rejects this wrong approach. As she leaves them, Mrs. Tingle appears and threatens her with expulsion. The three students go to her house to persuade her Leigh Ann had nothing to do with it, but things quickly go from bad to worse as the students swear at her (f-you), hit her, and ultimately fire a crossbow at her.
Realizing that they are now in much more trouble than they can handle, they kidnap Mrs. Tingle, tying her to her own bed. To persuade her to not tell, they plan to take incriminating photos of her and Luke, but instead use the school coach, who shows up for a “kinky encounter.”
While spending the night at the house, Leigh Ann rips open her shirt, then Luke’s, then undresses herself to present him with her virginity in front of a fire.
In the end, the teacher escapes, and while fighting for her life almost kills another student who comes to the house to complain about her final grade (one that was changed by the criminal trio) to aid Leigh Ann in getting her scholarship.
At that moment, the principal arrives. Mrs. Tingle, too upset from having nearly shot a student, can’t defend herself against the students' side of the story and is fired by the principal.
This movie presents the premise that the end justifies the means no matter what, that we should take what we want when we want it because we want it, that a total lack of respect for elders and for authority is not only desirable, but profitable.
Bottom line: “Teaching Mrs. Tingle” is fit neither for adult nor child.
Year of Release—1999