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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Strong message about importance and impact of perseverance. Drive and determination can help you rise above all of the challenges that come your way, including those set by people who are supposed to help you.
Positive Role Models
The students' perseverance is admirable, both when they stay all day and night practicing and studying for college acceptance tests and later, after they left school and realized that they were emotionally and mentally drained by their experiences while they were there.
All of the main interview subjects are people of color. Film focuses exclusively on issues driving conversations around Black and Brown children in education, tackling the many problems with America's views on race and education.
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Violence & Scariness
Allegations of choking and mental and emotional abuse. Mike Landry warns kids that he will make them kneel; scenes involving a battery charge made by a student against Landry. One subject said that she has seen abuse happen at the school.
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Swear words including "hell," "bitch," "ass," "goddamn," "s--t," and the phrase "pisses me off." Exclamatory use of "oh my God" and the use of a racial slur (the "N" word).
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Products & Purchases
One of the subjects of the film wears a Stanford sweater. Other Ivy League paraphernalia shown.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Accepted is a documentary about the successes -- and eventual scandals -- of Louisiana's T.M. Landry College Preparatory School. There's some strong language ("s--t," "ass," "goddamn"), the use of a racist slur (the "N" word), and allegations of child abuse (choking, mental and emotional abuse). The film focuses on the intersection of racism and the American education system and offers a clear message about the impact of perseverance. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.