Selected PhotoComing to DVD today, Tuesday, December 15: SELECTED

Kayla McCormick’s profile of a Chicago magnet high school bowed at Sarasota this Spring. It has also screened at the Waterfront fest and the New York No Limits film series.

Whitney Young is one of the best secondary educational institutions in Illinois boasting an almost perfect college matriculation rate for its graduates. It’s also among the most competitive of Chicago’s selective enrollment high schools, with only 120 slots available for the 2000 applications received annually. McCormick is given access to the school for a year, profiling several students, exploring academic and athletic programs, and even follows several prospective attendees. If that wasn’t enough, she also too briefly considers the impact of schools like Whitney Young on lower performing or economically disadvantaged Chicago neighborhood schools as the best and brightest students are funneled away. A well-intentioned project, the film unfortunately just takes on too much, resulting in a loose survey that occasionally offers intriguing moments only to almost immediately shift gears to some other more banal aspect of the school. Much more time could have been spent on Whitney Young’s inspiring principal, Dr Joyce Kenner, who shines when she’s on screen, rather than on presenting multiple profiles of students or would-be enrollees, many of whom have very similar basic stories. While McCormick’s approach does give a clear sense of the breadth and diversity of the school and its constituency, it also results in a lack of focus that weakens the overall film.

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Releases

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.