Parents' Guide to

Race to Nowhere

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Compelling docu looks at academic pressures faced by teens.

Movie PG-13 2010 85 minutes
Race to Nowhere Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 13 parent reviews

age 13+

Must see for parents, educators and mature teens

Our children's physical, emotional and mental well being are so much more important than society's narrow view of them based on grades and achievements. Imagine a society where academic grades, careers and salaries didn't define us? We need a cultural shift to slow down, realize what really matters, be compassionate toward ourselves and others, and redefine success. This film wakes us up and helps that process begin.
age 12+

Great Movie

If you have children you will want to watch this movie. This movie is showing a new path for our children. Far too many children are not having a childhood and stressing over school rather than playing. Children need to have play time and down time. Not every waking moment should be about school and grades. This movie is a must see.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (13 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

If feeling queasy because of what you've watched is a measure of how good a documentary is, then Race to Nowhere definitely succeeds. If you have a high-schooler, the film will either have you second-guessing their academic and extracurricular load or patting yourself on the back if you've been careful about making sure that they're not overwhelmed. The film will certainly stir up loads of examination and debate, and rightfully so. Told in classic documentary style, it's pretty effective.

Still, there are some quibbles: Though East Coasters and Floridians are included in the mix of sources, the film is peopled heavily by Californians. Which would be fine, except the movie is questioning the nation's obsession with academic success; a more varied sample might have made a better case. And it's not clear whether the problems described in the movie are endemic in both public and private schools, and whether that makes a difference. Still, it's a compelling film that will leave both teens and parents of high school students thinking.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: September 10, 2010
  • On DVD or streaming: July 19, 2011
  • Directors: Jessica Congdon , Vicki Abeles
  • Studio: Reel Link Films
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Run time: 85 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: thematic material involving stress on adolescents
  • Last updated: October 8, 2022

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