Critics Consensus

Frontrunners offers poignant insights into the high school power structure, with more than a few parallels to the current U.S. election.



Total Count: 27


Audience Score

User Ratings: 316
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Frontrunners Photos

Movie Info

As the teenage politicians at one of the most prestigious publics schools in the United States begin campaigning for the position of student body president, filmmaker Caroline Suh draws parallels between high-school politics and their real-world counterpart. It seems that the only difference between these burgeoning politicians and the folks vying for a position in the White House is that after a long day of tireless campaigning and endless photo ops, these youngsters have to do their homework, prepare for their SATs, and send out college applications. As the election begins to unfold, it quickly becomes apparent that these teenagers possess a keen understanding of how everything from platforms and strategy to charisma and hairstyle factor into a successful campaign.

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Critic Reviews for Frontrunners

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (4)

  • 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.

    Aug 8, 2009 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Oct 24, 2008 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Oct 24, 2008 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Oct 24, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Oct 23, 2008 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The student election plays out as a microcosm of the race for the Oval Office.

    Oct 17, 2008 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Frontrunners

  • Oct 16, 2009
    Great documentary.Shows that elections are just a popularity contest.Wish I had a lounge like that 1 kid when I was in HS
    Brody M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 18, 2008
    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.
    Jennifer X Super Reviewer

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