Waiting For Superman
- Director:Davis Guggenheim
- Cast:The Black Family , George Reeves
- Release Date:March 24, 2011
- Running time:111 minutes
- Film Worth:$16.00
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
While there are gaps left uncanvassed, this remains an absorbing exploration of a crucial issue which not only exposes problems, but offers answers.
Davis Guggenheim drives past three public schools on the way to the private school where he drops off his kids. The director and narrator of this sobering documentary knows that he's lucky - he can choose where his children will be schooled. But the parents that he meets in Waiting For Superman can't - and their kids will break your heart.
Most of the children here are from minority groups, living in disadvantaged urban communities. Anthony, a fifth-grader, lost his father to drugs. He's trapped in an underperforming school. So is Daisy. Like Anthony, she's extremely bright. She's a kind-hearted kid who wants to be a vet, a nurse, or a doctor. She may never even get the chance.
Guggenheim - who helmed An Inconvenient Truth and It Might Get Loud - exposes the inadequacies and unfairness within the American public school system, and the reasons why too many kids lack proficiency in the basics. He also offers answers, and hope, with educators like the inspiring Geoffrey Canada. The system is suffering for a batch of reasons, but bad teachers emerge as the main villains. The US system is stitched up so that teachers have jobs for life, irrespective of their performance. Yet the reason why colleges push out so many disinterested teachers isn't really covered, nor is teacher burn-out.
There are gaps - bigger questions, like why there's so much disadvantage in a rich country - that are not canvassed (if only Michael Moore were here). But this is still an absorbing documentary that lands at a tearfully emotional finale.
Bracketed by tales of Superman, with an archival George Reeves, and featuring wise words from that famous Harvard drop-out, Bill Gates, some will feel that Australia is indeed the lucky country after viewing this. But others will see worrying similarities between our system and the broken American one.