The Teacher’s Diary (Film Review)
Set in a beautiful and memorable setting on a school boathouse in the middle of a vast lake, this heart warming and feel-good story, The Teacher’s Diary, caters for both children and adults of all ages. The film features two lonely teachers, Mr Song (Chermarn Boonyasak) and Ms Ann (Sukrit Wisetkaew) who were both sent to teach at the boathouse school, in a rural setting, one year apart. Ms Ann was a very brave character in stark contrast to Mr Song, however, through Ms Ann’s diary, he learnt to be courageous and to follow his heart. The boathouse was a symbol of hope and love that hooks the viewer and gives them empathy for the characters too. In contrast, whenever the characters travelled to the mainland, it was a sign to the viewer that things weren’t going to work out for the pair.
Cleverly scripted humour is present from the start and the story line is conducted using cinematography techniques to show two lives being led, one from the past and one in the present. This was executed by switching coherently between the two lives and was done with impeccable smoothness. The humour within the film didn’t override the serious aspect or the romance that was present which kept the story moving along with ease. Mr Song and Ms Ann read about each other in Ms Ann’s diary, reflecting on each other’s lives and wondering who the other is. Will the two ever meet?
Despite the switching, there was no confusion within the film. It made sense whilst still leaving the viewer to wonder what would happen next. However, at times the film does feel too scripted and sometimes a bit forced, especially by the child actors.The subtitles, as this is an East Asian film, were well thought out and translated, with detail being key.
There were illustrations of different cultures throughout the film, giving a glimpse of alternative ways of life that perhaps we have never encountered before. For example, all the students at the boathouse school knew they were going to grow up to be fishermen like their fathers and grandfathers. They had no other future dreams. Although the film had a strong element of romance and humour it also touched on the problem of education. It highlighted that schooling shouldn’t just be about getting the highest grades, but should be more about expanding students’ minds and improving all aspects of their lives.
Bridging shots were just one of a selection of methods used to portray the lives of both Mr Song and Ms Ann. The diary of Ms Ann was often read by Mr Song and inspired him to become a better, if not unorthodox, teacher. A voice over was often used to show Ms Ann writing the diary and vice versa. Foreshadowing techniques using the weather were used to suggest what was to come. Passing shots with a long shot view were also used to show movement and to show journeys across the lake.
Overall this film is highly recommended by me as it allows the viewer to get to know the characters and empathise with them throughout. This is a feel-good film and will leave you with a smile on your face.