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Let’s Make the Teacher Have a Miscarriage Club – Review

by Miguel Douglas

@isugoi

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Sawako is a teacher at a middle school. She has now become pregnant. The students, who are bored with their daily lives, are shaken by the news. A group of students including Mizuki believe Sawako is dirty for having sex. The students have a meeting and decide to induce a miscarriage for Sawako. The students begin to taking chemicals from the science lab and putting it into Sawko’s food.

From first time director Eisuke Naito comes Let’s Make the Teacher Have a Miscarriage Club, a strange little film that plays out as a bizarre coming-of-age tale combined with that of a heartless examination of methodical murder. With such a name for a title, many may think the film is either a comedy, horror, or perhaps both. While the plausible thematic nature of the film’s narrative is indeed an ever present facet, Let’s Make the Teacher Have a Miscarriage Club focuses primarily on the deviant behavior exercised by the film’s young cast without applying much logical reasoning behind as to why they are conducting such behavior to begin with. This approach presents the film as a rather odd viewing experience that does not effectively – nor rationally – end too well.

Naito, who also co-wrote the film, is seemingly adherent in initially presenting a nihilistic worldview through the film’s young characters. Bored and tired of their own lives, the film offers them up as a group of rather perverse individuals who do not mind performing acts of cruelty in order to derive some excitement from their mundane existences. This warped sense of enjoyment is most notably seen through the character of Mizuki, played here by newcomer Kaori Kobayashi. Consumed by death to the point of murdering an infant animal in the film’s opening moments, Mizuki is the mastermind behind the proposed plan to essentially coerce her teacher Sawako, played here by Aki Miyata, to have a forced abortion. While this is certainly not light material for any film, Naito eerily showcases the extreme lengths in which Mizuki will go in order to get what she wants, using all of her close peers to accomplish it.

This is where the film works best, easing us into the brutish behavior by Mizuki as she constantly schemes to destroy Sawako and her unborn child. Naito is seemingly using Mizuki as a metaphor towards exploring the nature of emerging womanhood itself, with one particularly memorable poolside scene in which Mizuki unexpectedly has her first period in public, ultimately ending with her equally showing signs of of embarrassment and anger. She is confused as to what she is becoming, with her ideology conflicting with that of Sawako’s own understanding of her role as a woman and soon to be mother. The whole film works as an allegorical take on the complexities of growing up, as it is expressed in the most callous of circumstances.

Unfortunately, the film suffers from technical issues that keep it from establishing itself as a truly harrowing, memorable film. For one, the film comes in at a little over an hour in length, which isn’t a negative aspect in the slightest save for the fact that the film is not provided with enough time to have us truly sympathize with the plight of both Sawako and Mizuki. There is a lot of tension built between the two characters as the film nears its conclusion, which is unfortunately halted almost as soon as it is brought forth. We also learn almost nothing about the background of Mizuki as an individual. As a pivotal character within the film’s narrative, one should expect at least a single reason for why Mizuki thinks the way she does regarding death and her lackadaisical approach towards murder. Having an allegorical character can only go so far before their shallowness begins to shine through, which is unfortunately the case with Mizuki by the film’s conclusion.

Let’s Make the Teacher Have a Miscarriage Club is a film that attempts to reach for something profoundly telling, but it simply leaves the audience wanting something, well, more. As a writer, Naito definitely delivers the underlying anxiety that exists between his characters, but as a director he oddly decides to showcase such an approach in the most stoic of ways. If more considerable emotion was delivered through the film’s cast, then Let’s Make the Teacher Have a Miscarriage Club would have been a thoughtful exploration into youthful deviancy and the fruition of young adulthood. Instead it is mired by its own technical inabilities to deliver such an observation, with Naito still producing an interesting and creative premise for a film nonetheless.

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Author: Miguel Douglas

As an avid viewer of both Japanese animation and cinema for more than a decade now, Miguel is primarily concerned with establishing a critical look into both mediums as legitimate forms of artistic, cultural, and societal understanding. Never one to simply look at a film or series based solely on superficiality, Miguel has dedicated himself towards bringing awareness to Asian entertainment and its various facets.

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