I see a lot of documentary films. Few have hit as hard, both emotionally and intellectually, as Waiting for Superman. By way of summary, here are some critics’ quotes from Metacritic:
- “Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim’s scathing, moving critique of American public education, makes you actually want to do something after you dry your eyes.” (The Washington Post)
- “This is more than an Important Documentary: it is engaging and, finally, enraging - as captivating as any ‘Superman’ movie, and as poignant as a child’s plea for help.” (Time)
- “This is one of the most galvanizing documentaries I’ve ever seen.” (New York)
- “This movie isn’t just a necessity (listen up, do-nothing politicians) - it might change your future.” (Rolling Stone)
Waiting for Superman goes beyond the familiar story of failing inner-city schools to show solutions that are working. It also addresses the hidden failures of suburban public schools, many of which have acceptable average test scores that hide a giant achievement gap between students “tracked” for success and the rest.
Most of all, Waiting for Superman puts a face on the victims of bad schools. You will meet kids whose only view of “equality of opportunity” is a long-odds lottery for placement in a good school. You will feel the wrongness in your heart, not just of these particular kids’ fates but of the system stacked against them.
See the film. It’s a testament to the power of what a documentary can be.