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Frontrunners offers poignant insights into the high school power structure, with more than a few parallels to the current U.S. election.
All Critics (27)
| Top Critics (14)
| Fresh (23)
| Rotten (4)
| DVD (2)
Even an offhand debate between a few students late in the film about whether or not Bush is a "retard," while not exactly insightful, nonetheless portrays a student body for whom politics%u2014or at least arguing about it%u2014is essential.
The film sets just the right tone: with inventive music choices and wonderfully piquant moments plucked from what must have been hundreds of hours of footage, Frontrunners is consistently entertaining.
Perhaps it's the bright, decent, appealing kids seen here, or just the idyllic portrait Suh paints of student life at Manhattan's prestigious Stuyvesant High School that gives the picture its charm.
The kids now know how to play the game of college admissions, but they seem more jaded by their knowledge than entitled to success. And their exasperation with the process, their peers, and themselves is endlessly, illuminatingly watchable.
Sure, it's a skewed view through adolescent eyes, but it's one that still speaks to the aspirations, agendas, image-making and spin control behind a real, grown-up political election.
The student election plays out as a microcosm of the race for the Oval Office.
The film accurately captures the world of adolescence. But emotionally and intellectually the film walks down the center stripe, picking up little insights while remaining bogged down in blandness.
This film couldn't come out in a better time, in a better year.
Suh reassures us that democracy is alive and well (dispelling the myth of the apathetic young voter), while making us pause to consider the kind of people who emerge from the system.
In sum, Frontrunners is like the famous New Yorker magazine cover that shows the Big Apple looming in the foreground and the rest of the country as insignificant specks in the distance.
an ebullient celebration of the arcane democratic impulse in this country
A simply-made yet entertaining doc that has a similar appeal as Alexander Payne's Election while following in the vein of docs like American Teen and Spellbound.
This is not a particularly groundbreaking story, and the ending is pretty predictable, but I just like documentaries about high school. George is just unique enough to be interesting, and just cliche enough to be believable. I kind of had a crush on Michael, and I think Hannah's "Choose the Chicks" thing was adorable. Basically, I just kind of really want to go to Stuyvesant. And Columbia. Unfortunately, I can do neither. Wow I'm depressed.
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