“Accepted” review: reaching for the stars, seeing them dissolve

In “Accepted,” director Dan Chen takes us into the world of TM Landry, a private school in Louisiana whose videos of African-American st...

In “Accepted,” director Dan Chen takes us into the world of TM Landry, a private school in Louisiana whose videos of African-American students garnering Ivy League college acceptances have gone viral. But nine months after the filmmakers’ first visit to the school, the New York Times published reports of physical abuse, tampered transcripts and “bigoted” behavior from its founders, Mike and Tracey Landry. “Accepted” viewers get a front-row seat to experience the shattering impact of the school’s collapse through the stories of four promising high school students: Adia, Alicia, Cathy and Issac.

As we watch both the documentary’s subjects — and its director — navigate shocking real-time development, a quiet probing film emerges that pierces the mythos of America’s meritocracy.

Chen makes the choice to walk at the same measured pace throughout — even after the TM Landry scandal came to light — and forgo the cryptic notation we’re used to hearing when the jig is up. Likewise, Chen and Daphne Qin Wu’s cinematography seamlessly oscillates between intimate handheld shots and aerial views of western Louisiana landscapes that reflect the eventual loss of access to the Landrys and the ‘school.

Ultimately, it’s the resilience of the film’s teenage subjects that elevates “Accepted” to new heights. As they sit for close-ups in front of a swirling blue backdrop, the Georgetown and Stanford sweatshirts are gone, and the hopes they once held. But in their place is a clear understanding of the misguided pressures on individual minority students to succeed in a society that systematically disadvantages them, and a surprisingly powerful story about peace with imperfection.

Unclassified. Duration: 1h32. Rent or buy on AppleTV, google play and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.

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Newsrust - US Top News: “Accepted” review: reaching for the stars, seeing them dissolve
“Accepted” review: reaching for the stars, seeing them dissolve
Newsrust - US Top News
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