American Promise (2013)
Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 22
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 6
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 6.1/10
Critic Reviews: 11
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 3
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 505
The American Promise journey began in 1999, when filmmakers Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson enrolled their son Idris in the Dalton School on the Upper East Side of Manhattan after the private institution boldly strengthened its commitment to cultivating a diverse student body. Michèle and Joe decided to turn the camera on themselves to film the experiences of 5-year-old Idris and his best friend and classmate Seun. The documentary captures the stories of Idris, Seun, and their families from
Oct 18, 2013 Limited
Rada Film Group - Official Site
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Not only provides illuminating insights into racial and cultural issues, but explores family dynamics common to all.
By the end you can't help but wonder whether it was a good idea to keep the youngsters under camera scrutiny for more than 12 years.
The fact that the pair pulls off the nearly 21 / 2-hour run time without making the audience tire of the subjects is a feat itself.
I'm glad I saw this movie because it allowed me to spend time with two engaging boys whose young lives are worth chronicling. But those lives can't bear the symbolic weight the filmmakers place on them. Nor should they have to.
A remarkable documentary, though only partially for the reason its creators intended.
f Idris is different because he's African American, he stands out even more because he has a camera crew following him to class.
Says a lot about race, color, class, competition, and plain human nature in success-driven contemporary urban America.
Because Brewster and Stephenson have had the great courage to expose their own mistakes and excesses along the way, the film is revelatory as an embedded report from the front lines of parenting.
Raising and educating middle-class African-American boys is seen first-hand, cinema verité style, over 9 years in fitful, occasionally insightful, and intimately revealing.
While they didn't set out to make a film about what newspaper columnists refer to as the "black male achievement gap," Brewster and Stephenson have done just that, and it's hard to imagine a more penetrating and powerful one.
Ultimately, American Promise seems split between a personal perspective and a broader one. It's a bold experiment that's also a textbook case of filmmakers being too close to their material.
While American Promise often feels frustratingly unfocused and random,...it compensates to some degree with equally random details about growing up in urban America.
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