When we read the premise of “A Night in Kindergarten,” we were convinced that we were signing up for some very cliche, average fare. But within the first half an hour of it, we understood that it was more than that, and it just kept getting better. It has been a while since our presumptions were so spectacularly dashed to the ground, and we are happy about it. “A Night in Kindergarten” is the story of a deadbeat man who has to navigate a night of politics among parents so that he can prevent his son from getting expelled. But as the night progresses, things take a turn, revealing the dark side of the intersection between the worlds of parents and children. Without much ado, let us get into the storyline.
Why Do The Parents Want To Expel Tytus?
“A Night in Kindergarten” starts with Eryk taking some marijuana in a park and talking about how most children are stupid. When he goes back home, he finds that he had forgotten to pick up his girlfriend’s son, and she was angry with him. According to her, and we don’t disagree, Eryk is just plain irresponsible. Additionally, she is worried that her son is on the verge of getting expelled as he has been a troublemaker at school, and it also doesn’t sit well with the parents that she doesn’t have to pay any tuition for him. She asks Eryk to watch Tytus while she goes to work. But after she leaves, he makes different plans. He calls his friend and asks him to watch over Tytus while he goes to school for the Nativity play rehearsal. It doesn’t take him long to understand that he is the odd one out of them all, as Tytus is not his son; therefore, his opinion is not being taken seriously. The dynamics of the parents are such that Justyna is positioned as the leader, with the rest of the following pretty much everything she says. After he casts the politically incorrect vote for a decision, he realizes that he needs to do some damage control. But he doesn’t know how and wonders whether issues involving children are really that serious for him to give them more thought. Turns out they are, as he overhears Justyna and Krystyna talking about how they want Tytus to leave school at any cost. We have a doubt. Is it really socially acceptable in Poland or anywhere else for people to peep into bathroom stalls?
Either way, Eryk finds his plans changed now. He must make sure that all the parents vote in favor of keeping Tytus in school, and the villain of his mission is Justyna. He is frustrated, but the Director of the school advises him to act with calm and caution. He does that by talking to the parents individually and driving home the importance of doing the right thing. But Justyna is doing the exact same thing, and in a confrontation that happens later between her and Eryk involving all the parents, they side with her and vote to expel Tytus. Eryk is shocked and angry, and so is the Director of the school, as she believes that he has been making progress in his classes as per an education plan, she had drawn for him. But her words are shot down by Justyna. It turns out that Tytus has been more than a difficult child. He has been actively bullying everyone, and he was even responsible for locking Justyna’s daughter in a room for hours. Eryk is stumped, as he had not considered that the issue was so serious. He is sitting in a classroom, not knowing what to do, when the Director shows him pictures that Tytus had drawn. They were all superheroes, but he had named them “ER” or “Eryk.” He had come to see Eryk as a father figure and someone he could count on, and this was proof of that. Now, it was up to Eryk to maintain the faith of his child, and he came up with a plan for that.
He takes a smoke break for a while, and all the parents join him with their own complaints about their children and how they wish things were different. They all open up to him and to each other while complaining unabashedly about the hardships of parenthood. Right at that time, the Director comes and announces that she would like to resign from her job. The parents are all in shock as they don’t want her to go. It is decided that they will talk to her, and Justyna will apologize if needed to make her stay. But the Director says that she is not mad at Justyna. She is leaving because the management is not what she is used to, and she will only stay back if they guarantee that it will revert to what it was. The parents collectively decide that this can happen if Justyna is no longer the head of the Parents’ Committee. She is infuriated and catches on that this was the Director and Eryk’s plan all along. Whether or not the other parents believe her, they have decided that she will no longer be in charge.
‘A Night In Kindergarten’ Ending Explained: What Happens To The Nativity Play?
The parents collectively decide on Hamza as the new head of the committee. Justyna is furious, and while she tries to keep her cool, she loses it soon enough and lashes out at the parents, saying that none of them are good enough for their children. She has a loaded gun in her hand, and she is angry enough to be dangerous. But looking at her behavior, her friend Krystyna loses her patience and tells her that Justyna is not that good a mother either. She reveals that it wasn’t Tytus who had locked her daughter in the room; she had done it to herself because she was scared of her mother. Justyna is heartbroken, but Eryk intervenes before she can do anything. However, she reveals that it was Tytus who was named “Beetroot.” There had been an incident at school, an embarrassing one for the child that had earned him that name, and it had been an inside joke for the parents all along. Now, the question is whether Tytus’ bad behavior is the result of the bullying by his peers and their parents or whether that nickname is the result of their existing dislike. Either way, we know that Tytus is not really the villain he is being made out to be by the parents. In the scuffle that follows, Justyna accidentally shoots something into the wall. No one is injured, but what follows is a little too embarrassing for her. Everybody laughs, and it is evident that Tytus may not be bullied anymore.
The parents spend the night getting drunk and wreaking havoc, letting out the frustrations of their imperfect lives. The next morning, the entire set of the play is wrecked, and the parents realize that they need Justyna to help them fix it. Eryk goes to talk to her, and honestly, empathy works where everything else fails, and Justyna is back to organize the play. Meanwhile, Dorota is angry with Eryk, as she still thinks of him as the irresponsible person who left her son in charge of a dealer. But Justyna and the Director tell her of an arrangement they have made for Tytus to spend time with a caretaker to help with his behavioral issues. Dorota is surprised that Eryk has taken such an initiative. At the play itself, though, pandemonium ensues. Just when the parents decide to be more authentic with their children, somebody finds the gun from the previous night, and it is chaotic everywhere. Luckily, no one is harmed, and everyone makes it out alive. Justyna warmly embraces her daughter, and Dorota, Eryk, and Tytus come together as a family. It’s Merry Christmas once again.
Final Thoughts: What Works For ‘A Night In Kindergarten’ Film?
We wouldn’t call it a must-watch, but it was certainly engaging. While one is used to watching some petty politics between parents regarding their children, “A Night in Kindergarten” really took a dark turn by showing the cycle of bullying by parents and children alike that weaves a dangerous web of cruelty. In the movie, adults act like bullies who want the best for their children, as in staying away from the consequences of their own actions. Had they shown some maturity instead of teasing Tytus and taught their children to do the same, the whole thing could have been prevented. While the parents admit towards the end that, despite their complaints, they truly love their children, we believe that if one really wants to construct a better world, there must be some mandatory emotional and psychological checks in place for people who want to bring new life into the world and be responsible for them. We doubt whether we would recommend the movie to our friends, but we certainly enjoyed ourselves during its runtime.
“A Night in Kindergarten” is a 2022 Drama Comedy film directed by Rafal Skalski.