Waiting for Superman - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Waiting for Superman Reviews

Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
October 8, 2010
Davis easily ties a sick education system to a sick society. But when it comes down to it, in the end he has no clear cure for what ails us. At the very least, though, he has exposed the disease for all to see.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
October 8, 2010
Your heart goes out to all these kids, but Guggenheim's take on education stacks the deck against them even further by implying that only charters offer a ray of hope. Would that it were that simple.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
October 8, 2010
An admirable exercise in straight talk, especially in its tough assessment of the mediocrity-enforcing teachers' unions.
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
October 7, 2010
By focusing on these five kids and their hopeful families, Waiting for Superman puts a human face on a crisis worthy of a superhero.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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David Denby
New Yorker
October 4, 2010
We need another movie, one that shows us why some charter schools work and others dont.
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Dana Stevens
Slate
October 1, 2010
You leave the film convinced that radical change is necessary but uncomfortable with the closing voice-over that assures you how simple it will be to implement it.
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
October 1, 2010
Waiting for 'Superman' won't satisfy anyone looking for a five-point plan. (It won't win many fans among teachers' unions, either.) On the other hand, if it's effective filmmaking you're after, look no further.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic
Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
October 1, 2010
There is no question that this is compelling viewing, especially considering the largely abstract and policy-driven nature of the crisis.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
October 1, 2010
Waiting for 'Superman,' filmmaker Davis Guggenheim's scathing, moving critique of American public education, makes you actually want to do something after you dry your eyes.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle
September 30, 2010
The photography and editing are accomplished, and the filmmaker frequently resorts to animation and other tricks to make his subject more palatable.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
September 30, 2010
This is more than an Important Documentary: it is engaging and, finally, enraging -- as captivating as any Superman movie, and as poignant as a child's plea for help.
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
September 30, 2010
The fact that most charters fare no better than regular public schools, or do worse, is only glancingly mentioned.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Linda Shaw
Seattle Times
September 30, 2010
Guggenheim succeeds in asking tough questions. At the end of the film, after he's made us root for these kids and worry about the state of our schools, he asks: "Did we do the right thing? Did we do enough?"
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
September 30, 2010
As Guggenheim's camera gives us a close-up of the Educational Lotto, the implication is clear: Why gamble on the future of America's children? Instead of helping some kids beat the odds, how do we change the odds for all kids?
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
September 30, 2010
It's meant to infuriate you and break your heart enough that you feel compelled to do something. There's a great deal of agit with very little prop.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
September 30, 2010
The film demonstrates (1) that quality education is possible for even the most disadvantaged students; (2) the cost is low, considering that high school dropouts often turn to crime when they can't find good jobs.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
September 27, 2010
This movie isn't just a necessity (listen up, do-nothing politicians) - it might change your future.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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James Rocchi
MSN Movies
September 24, 2010
... emotionally engaging, as hopeful and honest as it is wrenching and moving.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Stephen Holden
New York Times
September 24, 2010
A powerful and alarming documentary about America's failing public school system.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Kyle Smith
New York Post
September 24, 2010
Reform is not that hard, Guggenheim concludes. We know what makes for a good school: quality teachers. All we need is to bring in strong teachers to replace the weakest.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
September 23, 2010
This is a time when urgent issues are often explored in polemic documentaries, as well as a fateful moment when the future of public education is being debated with unprecedented intensity. Waiting for 'Superman' makes an invaluable addition to the debate
Top Critic
Scott Bowles
USA Today
September 23, 2010
As divisive as the issue has become, it's hard to deny the power of Guggenheim's lingering shots on these children, waiting on a superhero who isn't going to come.
Top Critic
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
September 23, 2010
Guggenheim does not seem aware that extensive educational research has failed to identify what makes a "great teacher" or how to train one, nor that there are strikingly different and conflicting strategies for teaching literacy.
Top Critic
Amy Nicholson
I.E. Weekly
September 23, 2010
Is our children learning? No -- and here's why, argues Davis Guggenheim's rousing documentary
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Nathan Rabin
AV Club
September 23, 2010
Superman can sometimes feel more like a lecture and an info-dump than a gripping narrative, but to his credit, Guggenheim never lets us forget the high, human stakes involved in saving public schools from themselves.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
September 22, 2010
The movie goes right to the heart in focusing on the fates of some irresistibly real kids and the loving, frustrated parents and grandparents who care for them.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
David Fear
Time Out
September 22, 2010
The plentiful pop-doc touches ensure that this wake-up call won't put you to sleep, even if the ratio of spoonfuls of sugar to medicine occasionally seems skewed.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Melissa Anderson
Village Voice
September 21, 2010
Guggenheim's insistence on not engaging with the injustices that children of certain races and classes face outside of school makes his reiteration of the obvious... seem all the more willfully na´ve.
Top Critic
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
September 20, 2010
This is one of the most galvanizing documentaries I've ever seen.
Top Critic
Guy Dixon
Globe and Mail
September 14, 2010
The heartbreak among children denied a proper education is irrefutable.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
John Anderson
Variety
June 9, 2010
Exhilarating, heartbreaking and righteous, Waiting for Superman is also a kind of high-minded thriller: Can the American education system be cured?
Top Critic
John DeFore
Hollywood Reporter
June 9, 2010
Davis Guggenheim tells some inconvenient truths about public education in compelling new doc.