During this holiday season, it is unexpected to come across a film that does exactly the opposite of what holiday movies are supposed to deliver. “A Night at the Kindergarten” is a peculiar film that almost mimics most of the family-oriented Christmas movies that rely on the goodness of everyone around with a conflict so simple that it can be handled by anyone below the age of 10. What makes “A Night at the Kindergarten” different from the usual holiday film is its handling of the subject matter. A bunch of parents in the Parents Association Committee get together to have a detailed discussion on the nativity play, but the real reason is something else. What could it be?
‘A Night At The Kindergarten’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
The film begins with a good-for-nothing Eryk at a park, where he is making fun of the kids with his friends and talking about why he would not want kids for himself. He makes fun of every kid at the playground while smoking a joint with the same friend and starts criticizing a mother for not taking care of her child. Eryk comes across as a man who wouldn’t want to take responsibility for any child, as he finds them a waste of time. Eryk makes sure he stays away from kids, but the unfortunate part is that his girlfriend Dorota has a toddler named Tytus who goes to a local playschool. Dorota is a busy woman who finds it difficult to find time for her son. She expects Eryk to help at home, but he does the exact opposite. Eryk comes across an irresponsible man who doesn’t help at all with anything to do with her son Tytus. Dorota knows Tytus might get expelled from the playschool owing to some complaints she received. Eryk is hardly bothered by it, but he senses a tone of disappointment from Dorota about why he can’t help her with anything at home. Dorota has every reason to be mad at Eryk, but Eryk does not see that initially and ignores her talk. Eryk had difficulty communicating with Tytus the day he was introduced to him by Dorota. Dorota, though, requests that he take care of the kid while she is out taking an extra shift at the hospital. Eryk agrees, but he knows it is going to be a difficult evening ahead of him as he doesn’t want to spend any time with Tytus. Dorota incidentally informs him of the Parents’ Association meeting at the playschool, which she had to skip because of her work.
Eryk starts bonding with Tytus, but Tytus, being a kid, is not comfortable around Eryk and starts rebelling, much to Eryk’s annoyance. Tytus does not listen to any of what Eryk is asking him to do. After losing patience rather quickly, Eryk asks his friend to babysit Tytus, and just to avoid any sort of work that would involve taking care of Tytus, Eryk heads to the Parents Association meeting. As Eryk reaches the school, a bunch of parents have already figuring out a way to begin their meeting. Eryk is initially uninterested in any of the topics they are discussing; he just goes along with the alpha parent of the group, Justyna. Eryk tries to slowly show interest in the meeting so that they leave a good word to Dorota the next day, appreciating his attendance and showing concern for the school Tytus is attending. As the parents are preparing for the nativity play, one of the male parents, who is a devout Catholic, recommends that a toilet without a flush be introduced in the school. Though some parents are in favor of this function that needs to be added, a major chunk of parents, spearheaded by Justyna, goes against it, for they want to make their kids independent and teach them basic manners.
A self-flushing toilet would mean the kids would not learn to flush, and it is not a good habit as they grow up. The motion is put to the vote, and there is a tie. Eryk is the decider vote in this matter, and he votes in favor of adding a flush. Eryk says kids need to know basic hygiene routines, which they will learn in preschool. The parents move to practice for the nativity play the next day. Eryk decides to leave for home to take care of Tytus, and he requests all the parents to put in a good word of him to Dorota. They agree to do so. Eryk wants to make sure Dorota realizes that he isn’t as irresponsible as she makes him to be. Being a part of the Parents Association Committee meeting instead of Dorota would mean he has concerns for Tytus. Though it is true, he knows why he made an appearance at the meeting. On his way out, Eryk is in the washroom, and he hears Justyna speaking to another parent about how the nativity practice was just a ploy to discuss Tytus’s future with the playschool. Eryk, though, is shocked to know what the parents are capable of, and he realizes he needs to do something so that Tytus is not expelled from the school.
‘A Night At The Kindergarten’ Ending Explained – How Does Eryk Convince Parents To Not Expel Tytus?
Eryk realizes Justyna is the bully of the group, and that many in the association mimic her decisions. She is a tough person to crack, but Eryk realizes her monopoly needs to be broken at any cost. Justyna is so powerful that the playschool headmistress has no say in any decisions made for the kids. The headmistress is the one who has experience handling toddlers, but she is sidelined by Justyna because she is a mother, and the headmistress is not. Justyna is adamant about expelling Tytus from school. To Justyna’s annoyance, Eryk comes back to the nativity play practice. Eryk realizes that if he is here, either they will be forced to bring up the topic in front of him and discuss the reason in detail, or they will drop the idea of discussing Tytus’s expulsion because of his presence. In any case, Eryk is ready to know what is going on in their minds, and he wants to break Justyna’s monopoly. Eryk starts questioning the exclusion of Joseph’s character in the play, and many agree with him. Again, through a vote, they decide to add Joseph’s character in the play, to Justyna’s annoyance. She starts realizing that Eryk is getting into her plans and wants to disrupt things that are done a certain way. Eryk also supports the idea that one of the parents, who is a singer, adds a tinge of hip-hop rap to keep children concentrated on the play. Another parent suggests adding a psalm from the Bible for the kids. Justyna hesitantly agrees to it. Her sidekick is forced to change the script of the play.
Justyna is visibly disturbed by the changes Eryk is slowly making in the group, which was seemingly hers, and they would listen to her previously. Justyna feels like she is losing control over things with them. The rest of the parents inform Eryk that Justyna is an amazing woman and mother, for she fought cancer while being a single mother to her only daughter. They all agree that, though she is a control freak, she is a strong and capable woman. Eryk asks the headmistress why the parents are hell-bent on expelling Tytus. The headmistress says she never had any major issues with the kid, but the painting he did as part of the assignment shows plenty of male genitalia, which she is also not worried about. But what Eryk is surprised to see is that the painting of Superman that Tytus drew has “Eryk” written everywhere, which makes Eryk realize that Tytus likes him. Eryk just needs to find a way to reciprocate his affection. Eryk is happy to know that Tytus likes him after all, erasing all the doubts he has about the kid. Now he takes it upon himself to defend the boy in front of the parents and convince them not to expel Tytus. Eryk, point blank, asks the parents what issues they face with Tytus. Many claim Tytus to be a sort of bully. One parent says Tytus switched the names of his twins on purpose. Another parent claims Tytus made their kid play a song not meant for them. Other parents claim Tytus calls their kids names, and Justyna mentions that her daughter was locked in a box by Tytus. Another parent claims Tytus drew a phallic image on his son’s forehead. Eryk realizes none of them would side with his plea, so he realizes he must meet them one by one. Dorota calls him up from work, and he realizes he wants to fight for Dorota and Tytus, and his right to stay in school. Disciplining is something that works but expelling never does. Most of the parents vote in favor of expelling Tytus, but one by one, they start apologizing to him for why they supported the motion.
Eryk is touched by their gesture. He also reveals that the headmistress has resigned from the school with immediate effect. Everyone, especially Justyna, is shocked to hear this news. She compels the headmistress to stay back. One reason why she must have said this is because she can dominate this headmistress. A new headmistress appointee might not be a pushover like the existing one. Justyna and all the parents, including Eryk, convince her to stay back. The headmistress reveals she can work and bring about her style of teaching as long as Justyna is not the chairman of the Parents Association Committee of the school. Justyna is taken aback by such accusations. She realized this was a game played by Eryk to get rid of her. The rest of the parents agree to dissolve the current Parents Association Committee and choose a new chairman. Justyna is visibly distressed at the thought of losing power yet again, but since it is a democracy, she agrees to step aside and let some other parents stand for the same position. Another parent is chosen, and Justyna finally breaks down and makes everyone look like a bad parent except herself. Eryk is happy to see that Justyna’s monopoly and control over this tiny little group has been broken, and a new person is allowed to come in. This parent can hopefully work along with the headmistress and not against her. Justyna has a breakdown when she is told that her daughter does not like her. Justin is informed that her daughter had locked herself in the box because she didn’t want to go home, but it isn’t Tytus who did that deed. Justyna is in denial and runs away from the meeting.
Soon the headmistress leaves the premises at the end of the day, but she informs Eryk that Tytus needs special care and attention, and for that, a caregiver has to be with him all the time, which is an expensive proposition for the school. The rest of the parents are in a party mood, and in that zone, none of them can help Eryk. Parents get drunk, destroy the set they made, and sleep over in the school. Parents are in a good mood after a new chairperson was elected, while Eryk is still worried about Tytus’s status. He finds Justyna and asks her to come back in to rebuild the set all over again, not to be worried about losing power. Justyna realizes how naïve her reaction was and goes back to school to do the rest of the work. As the rest of the parents start rebuilding the set, the children start coming in one by one for the nativity play. One of the kids finds a gun that disrupts the play, but thankfully the kid does not fire the gun, and it is immediately confiscated. The parents lose the script in the previous night’s mayhem, and all of them decide to do improv work for the kids. All the parents finally come to the same conclusion and decide to put on a good show for their kids and the rest of the children. Dorota is initially angry at Eryk leaving Tytus with a junky, but she realizes the work he has been putting in to keep Tytus in school. Tytus is finally not expelled from the playschool, thanks to Eryk. He also offers to be Tytus’s caregiver during his school hours, which will help Tytus’s concentration level. Eryk realizes the love he carries for Dorota and Tytus and how much he wants to help the kid, for these are his formative years. Eryk is glad to be able to help Tytus with his issues so that he grows up to be a decent human being—someone who was given help at the right time.
“A Night at the Kindergarten” is one helluva ride where parents don’t try to be good, but all their claws are out to protect their kids, and they would do anything to keep the trouble-causing kids away from theirs. Justyna is an example of a woman who believes what she is doing is right, and just because she is a mother, she has the right to make decisions for the school as well. “A Night at the Kindergarten” is a perfect satirical comedy on all the holiday films that don’t talk about the reality of being a parent. The movie throws light on all forms of parenting, which is a refreshing take, to begin with. Toxic parenting, parents dating, and relationships with the kids are explored well and tightly in his film, which makes “A Night at the Kindergarten” an engaging film. The tight screenplay by Marek Baranowski retains the strong narrative, which does not meander at any point in time. The framing of the film is such that it gets tighter and closer for the story to come to a definite conclusion. “A Night at the Kindergarten” is a wonderful watch, something that cannot be missed, especially if you are bored of watching all the over-the-top holiday films.
“A Night at the Kindergarten” is a Polish-language satirical comedy-drama, now streaming on Netflix with subtitles.