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Teaching Mrs. Tingle
Directed by Kevin Williamson
Written by Kevin Williamson
Starring Katie Holmes
Helen Mirren
Barry Watson
Marisa Coughlan
Distributed by Dimension Films
Release date(s) August 20, 1999
Running time 96 min.
Language English
Budget $13,000,000 (estimated)

Teaching Mrs. Tingle is a 1999 film and the directorial debut of screenwriter Kevin Williamson. The film stars Helen Mirren, Katie Holmes, Marisa Coughlan, Barry Watson and Jeffrey Tambor and was released on August 20, 1999. It was originally titled Killing Mrs. Tingle, but delayed and retitled due to the uproar over teen violence in films after the Columbine High School massacre.



Leigh Ann (Katie Holmes) is a high school student who wants to achieve top grades to become valedictorian. However, her grade in History class is threatened by her sadistic teacher, Mrs. Tingle (Helen Mirren). Mrs. Tingle has a special dislike for Leigh Ann and down-grades Leigh Ann's well-designed project. The teacher also stumbles upon Leigh Ann with the final exam, which had been stolen and planted in Leigh Ann's backpack without her consent, and threatens to have her expelled for it.

Leigh Ann and her two friends, Luke and Jo Lynn, head to Mrs. Tingle's house that night and try to convince the teacher that Leigh Ann is innocent. Mrs. Tingle, however, does not listen. A physical struggle ensues and Mrs. Tingle is accidentally knocked unconscious. The students panic and tie Mrs. Tingle to her bed. Pretending to be Mrs. Tingle, Jo Lynn calls the school the next morning and feigns illness in order to buy themselves some time, but all are unsure of what they should do next. Mrs. Tingle eventually reveals that she hates Leigh Ann because Leigh Ann has the potential to leave their small town and experience life – something Mrs. Tingle never got a chance to do – but her honesty only furthers her captors' dislike of her. She also opines that Leigh Ann does not have the guts to do anything that will get her in trouble; in response, an angry and infuriated Leigh Ann kisses Luke and has sex with him on Mrs Tingle's couch.

The next day at school, Jo Lynn ignores Leigh Ann because she had a crush – a crush Leigh Ann had been aware of. A regretful Leigh Ann tries to make amends with Jo Lynn, but an admission that she'd had sex with Luke further infuriates Jo Lynn.

Leigh Ann, Luke, and Jo Lynn decide to blackmail Mrs. Tingle by producing photographic evidence of her love affair with the school's gym teacher. Before they can enact their plot, however, Mrs. Tingle escapes from her bonds. After a fight at the top of the staircase, she seemingly falls to her death but then quickly recovers, scrambles to her feet, and picks up a crossbow. She fires it wildly, trying to hit Leigh Ann. Trudie Tucker walks through the door, gets hit in the chest by the bolt, and appears to be dead just as the principal of her school arrives to check up on Mrs. Tingle. Leigh Ann forces Mrs. Tingle to tell everything that happened; that she wanted her to fail, that she shot Trudie with the arrow, among other things. However, Trudie was protected by a thick textbook she was holding at her chest and was completely unharmed. Mrs. Tingle is fired, and the final scene of the film shows Leigh Ann being named valedictorian.


The film received some poor reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes measuring a 20% approval rating. [1] Roger Ebert compared the film to Election in its concept but said that Teaching Mrs. Tingle fell short of Election in wit, and in that Teaching Mrs. Tingle had no sympathethic characters. Ebert complimented Mirren's acting.[2]


Actor Role
Helen Mirren Mrs. Eve Tingle
Katie Holmes Leigh Ann Watson
Jeffrey Tambor Coach Richard 'Spanky' Wenchell
Barry Watson Luke Churner
Marisa Coughlan Jo Lynn Jordan
Liz Stauber Trudie Tucker
Michael McKean Principal Potter
Lesley Ann Warren Mrs Faye Watson
Molly Ringwald Miss Banks
Vivica A. Fox Miss Gold
John Patrick White Brian Berry
Robert Gant Professor

See also


External links

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