7.1/10
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2 user 9 critic

Night School (2016)

Unrated | | Documentary | 15 April 2016 (USA)
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A documentary about three students determined to graduate from their high school in Indianapolis, despite the fact that the institution has one of the lowest graduation rates in the country.

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Shynika Jakes ...
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A documentary about three students determined to graduate from their high school in Indianapolis, despite the fact that the institution has one of the lowest graduation rates in the country.

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Sometimes moving forward means going back.

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Documentary

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Unrated
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15 April 2016 (USA)  »

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Opening Weekend:

$1,588 (USA) (9 June 2017)

Gross:

$4,351 (USA) (23 June 2017)
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The makings of a good movie
17 June 2017 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This has the makings of a good movie, but it's not there yet. The ending, the inevitable graduation ceremony, is moving, but for most of the movie, it's apparently random snippets from the lives of three middle-aged high school dropouts who have decided to go to a high school for adults - as opposed to working toward a GED - in order to get a real high school diploma.

The stories of the two women involved are very sympathetic. The man less so, though when he discovers that his young daughter has epilepsy, you certainly feel for her and him as well.

All three mouth the expected sentiments, but when it comes to putting them into practice, things become harder for all three.

At the very end, the principal of this high school for adults suggests that these students are where they are because public education failed them. For that moment, you might think of *Waiting for Superman*. That is not what the rest of this movie suggests, however. Rather, it is the study of three people who made bad choices when they themselves were only children in high school, and who are now trying to make the right choices to get their lives on track, for themselves and sometimes also for others.

The middle drags, at least for me, because there is no direction to much of it. Too many impressionists shots that don't add anything to the story. I guess what it needs is a better editor, but perhaps also more material to work with.

The big unanswered question is what difference a high school diploma will make in these three individuals' lives. We get an inkling of that in the end, but in a sense, it would have been better to cut parts of the existing movie that don't add anything to the story and then spend some time on their lives after they graduate. As any un-employed or under-employed high school grad will tell you, a high school diploma is no guarantee of a good job.

Still, I would recommend seeing this movie. Though, if I had it to do again, I would have waited until I could rent it. Though it is not long, it seems long when you have to sit through it without a break.


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