Parents' Guide to

Night School

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Inspiring, sometimes gritty docu about adult learners.

Movie NR 2017 85 minutes
Night School Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 1 parent review

age 18+

Horrible Violence

It scared my children and quite frankly me for that matter.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This poignant, powerful documentary about three adult students hoping to finally graduate from high school is a reminder of the importance of education -- and second chances. Filmmaker Andrew Cohn directs mostly in a cinema verité-style, but there's an obvious narrative structure, and each of the three subjects follows his or her own up-and-down journey toward the much-needed diploma. Melissa, in particular, is a reminder of how time can slip by for a dropout faced with the reality of raising a child earlier than expected. The fact that, even in her 50s, she's ready, willing, and able to learn -- even after repeated challenges with math -- is a positive example for younger viewers who might be taking their education for granted.

Greg's story as a reformed ex-con is touching, not only because of how devoted he is to his adorable daughter but also because of how difficult it is for formerly incarcerated adults to move forward. There's a scene in which a counselor explains why something Greg wants to accomplish is nearly impossible; it's heartbreaking to watch. He, of all three adults, seems to have the biggest odds against him. As for Shynika, it's clear she's intelligent and capable, but she's constantly under financial stress that working shift after shift at a fast-food chain isn't going to completely alleviate. These are real people with real problems that the majority of viewers may not relate to. But everyone should be able to empathize with and cheer on these adult learners who are trying to accomplish what their younger selves couldn't.

Movie Details

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