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Parents' Guide to


By Monique Jones, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Docu on education scandal celebrates perseverance; swearing.

Movie NR 2022 92 minutes
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This starts out as a feel-good documentary, but it eventually takes an alarming turn as the underbelly of the American educational system is revealed and examined. Accepted details how the precise thing that T.M. Landry College Prep became famous for -- sending its Black students to Ivy League universities -- is also why it plays into stereotypes many Americans still hold. The Landry students are presented as exceptions, when what should be indicted is the United States' racist practices and the disenfranchisement of Black youth while White, affluent young people are able to buy their way into colleges that others only dream about (and where they might only be thought of as "affirmative action" cases).

The film also showcases how a cultish mentality can occur anywhere, even when it comes to securing the success of marginalized children. Mike Landry, the head of the school, is charismatic and at first appears to be generous, but his methods of training his students involve manipulation, intimidation, and what could be seen as emotional and mental abuse. Alleged physical abuse is also discussed. By simultaneously building up and tearing down his students, he creates a system in which some students believe they won't be able to make it into college -- or have a good life -- without him and his school. Even worse, some interviewed parents still support Landry because of their hope that their child will have a better life because of his school. The students who leave the school, especially as it becomes the subject of controversy and scandal, have tough roads ahead mentally as they rediscover who they are without T.M. Landry College Prep. But Accepted does a wonderful job of showing their complex journey, as well as the complexities that make up the United States' views on education and race.

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