One of the most tried and true genres that has served more than its fair share of rote, by-the-numbers movies, is that of the “inspirational teacher.” It seems every year or two, another project comes along, with another actor or actress, teaching [insert minority group] life lessons by connecting to them through literature or sometimes hip-hop. And “Around The Block” has both.
Christina Ricci stars in this one, which to be fair, did win an Australian Directors Guild Award for its screenplay before cameras even rolled. But it’s one thing to write a movie and another to shoot it, and writer/director Sarah Spillane doesn’t seem to deviate much from the usual playbook. This one tells the tale of an American living in Australia, teaching for the first time, who gets in involved with the lives of her students at a tough school. She takes a shine to one particular student who is on the edge of falling into a criminal lifestyle and fast foward to a scene with a whiteboard that has both Tupac Shakur and William Shakespeare on it because, learning.
“Around The Block” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, and played a couple small festivals since, without earning much buzz. Cinedigm will release the film, though no date has been set. Watch below.