As hot as "Mad Hot Ballroom" and as spell-binding as "Spellbound"
I saw this film at the Tribeca Film Festival in May 2007 and fell in love with it. The director, Vanessa Roth, does an excellent job of chronicling the lives, aspirations, and challenges of young middle school students running for student council president. It definitely takes me back a few years! The editing is tight yet gives space for the individual stories of each of the student government races spotlighted in the film. Each story is dramatic and unique. We're all familiar with the archetypes represented by the students spotlighted--arrogant jock, poor but sincere scholar, over-achieving dynamo, popular charmer, beauty queen, et al.--yet these students' stories are humanized in ways that few other films have managed to do. Vulnerabilities and strengths come from unexpected places.
Roth does a good job of juxtaposing the national presidential elections and drawing parallels between the personal and the political -- from the terrazzo hallways of a suburban middle school to the invoked marble floors of the White House. "Will we see any of these students taking a greater oath of office one day?" is the question that resonates.
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