[Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics]

Movie Review: The Teachers' Lounge

07:00 February 12, 2024
By: David Vicari

The Teachers' Lounge (2023)

New 7th grade teacher Carla Nowak (Leonie Benesch) witnesses the interrogation of students in her class by members of the faculty when a student is suspected of stealing money. The boy accused, however, has an alibi.

Soon after that incident, Nowak witnesses a minor theft in the faculty lounge. In an attempt to solve the recurring crimes, she sets up her laptop camera facing her jacket draped over a chair. After capturing an arm of someone wearing a distinctive blouse on the hidden camera, Nowak accuses faculty member Mrs. Kuhn (Eva Löbau), but soon has doubts about her accusation. It all spirals out of control to the point that the student newspaper wants to interview Nowak about the incident.

The performances here are good and naturalistic, and the child actors, like Leonard Stettnisch, who plays Kuhn's son Oskar, don't hit any false notes. Benesch is a solid lead as the new teacher who is in over her head.

Solving the mystery of who is taking the money isn't the point here. It's a study of how an accusation can cause guilt and paranoia. This German drama, directed by İlker Çatak, often plays like a sweat-inducing thriller. However, it is not a true thriller or, like previously stated, even a mystery but an effective morality tale.

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