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Race to Nowhere (2010)

2:30 | Trailer
A silent epidemic, cheating, has become commonplace in our schools; students have become disengaged; stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant; and young people arrive at college and workplaces unprepared and uninspired.


Vicki Abeles (co-director), Jessica Congdon (co-director)


Maimone Attia (story), Maimone Attia





RACE TO NOWHERE is a close-up look at the pressures on today's students, offering an intimate view of lives packed with activities, leaving little room for down-time or family time. Parents today are expected to raise high-achieving children, who are good at everything: academics, sports, the arts, community-service. The film tackles the tragic side of our often achievement-obsessed culture, with interviews that explore the hidden world of over-burdened schedules, student suicide, academic cheating, young people who have checked out. RACE TO NOWHERE asks the question: Are the young people of today prepared to step fully and productively into their future? We hear from students who feel they are being pushed to the brink, educators who worry students aren't learning anything substantive, and college professors and business leaders, concerned their incoming employees lack the skills needed to succeed in the business world: passion, creativity, and internal motivation. Written by Vicki Abeles

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Plot Keywords:

student | stress | education | See All (3) »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving stress on adolescents

Did You Know?


Race to Nowhere has been screened in over 1750 locations, 48 states and 20 countries through a grassroots community screening campaign. See more »

User Reviews

Imporante issue, weak documentary
30 August 2015 | by eurogradSee all my reviews

Overscheduled kids and teens, teach-to-the-test, erosion of free play time, stressful school environments are all real and serious problems that affect youth of America today.

"Race to Nowhere" is an attempt to cast a light and raise awareness to these problems, which are part of a larger tend where adult-led structured activities came to dominate virtually all non-sleeping time of students, in school, at home, or in the countless places they are chauffeured to and from. It follows the difficult-to- execute model of bringing several people who will tell their stories in parallel narratives while the director inserts other pieces to bring "familiar faces" of the issues the documentary portrays.

Excessive homework was the thread line chosen to guide the filmmaker throughout her project (which was born out of a situation she witnessed in her own family). It does a good job bringing and naming the issues and enumerating there.

However, there are 'execution flaws'. The parallel narratives of teens, parents, kids, teachers don't really add up depth and multiple viewpoints on the issue as much as they add length to the featured documentary.

More worrying, at some point the director starts shooting almost randomly at a variety of social issues: teen suicide (with a counterproductive and hard-to-believe direct blaming of a suicide case on a single event, which is something professional seriously advise against), income inequality, consumerism, social media hyperconectivity of teens, school district politics, teacher social standards etc. They could all be directly or indirectly tied to the hypercharged, hypercompetitive, test-driven school culture the films wants to take aim at, but they appear juggled around without much coherence or connection.

"Race to Nowhere" wasted an excellent opportunity to really look into misguided education practices and their effects on teens, but as it was unveiled, it certainly fails to rally up the audience to support the reforms the director seems to support right before the final credits.

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English | Spanish | Mandarin

Release Date:

23 September 2010 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »


Box Office


$500,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Reel Link Films See more »
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