102 user 114 critic

Waiting for 'Superman' (2010)

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An examination of the current state of education in America today.


Davis Guggenheim
16 wins & 28 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Charles Adam Charles Adam ... Himself
Charles Adams Charles Adams ... Himself
Jonathan Alter ... Himself
Robert Balfanz Robert Balfanz ... Himself
Harriet Ball Harriet Ball ... Herself
Steve Barr Steve Barr ... Himself
Ms. Celeste Bell Ms. Celeste Bell ... Herself
The Black & McGee Family The Black & McGee Family ... Themselves
Geoffrey Canada ... Himself
James Carter III James Carter III ... Himself
Todd Dickson Todd Dickson ... Himself
The Esparza Family The Esparza Family ... Themselves
Mike Feinberg Mike Feinberg ... Himself
Adrian M. Fenty Adrian M. Fenty ... Himself (as Adrian Fenty)
Howard Fuller Howard Fuller ... Himself


Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim reminds us that education "statistics" have names: Anthony, Francisco, Bianca, Daisy, and Emily, whose stories make up the engrossing foundation of WAITING FOR SUPERMAN. As he follows a handful of promising kids through a system that inhibits, rather than encourages, academic growth, Guggenheim undertakes an exhaustive review of public education, surveying "drop-out factories" and "academic sinkholes," methodically dissecting the system and its seemingly intractable problems. Written by Sundance Film Festival

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The fate of our country won't be decided on a battlefield, it will be determined in a classroom.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some thematic material, mild language and incidental smoking | See all certifications »






Release Date:

29 October 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Esperando a Superman See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$139,033, 26 September 2010, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$6,410,257, 19 December 2010
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


There is a scene in which Bianca, one of the little girls, is reading from a book about someone taking apples and bringing them into the city to sell. The book she is reading is called "The Giving Tree" and was written by Shel Silverstein. See more »


Geoffrey Canada: One of the saddest days of my life was when my mother told me Superman did not exist.
See more »


Referenced in Beyond the Blackboard (2011) See more »


Hitting The Trail
Written by Larry Hochman
Courtesy of APM Music
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User Reviews

convenient, yet imprecise
6 October 2010 | by ZaiRebMaSee all my reviews

This movie flows in the same vein as the Oprah Winfrey Show, Fox news, CNN, and McDonald's. It's tasty, yet difficult to digest.

There are a few themes strung throughout this noose of a movie. One major theme is: win the lottery and you'll succeed. There are two lotteries in Waiting for Superman. One is the lottery that is played out in the gymnasiums of the schools, with numbered ping-pong balls and kids who make your heart ache. The other lottery is 500 billion dollars, the $$$ of the school system in America.

For students in this movie "win the lottery and you'll succeed" means they have to be lucky, or else the public school system will fail them. This may change though, as superman is on his way. Superman is not in the guise of an administrator or a teacher. Superman is a politician (and his sidekick an entrepreneur). The business of education is a lottery. Billions of dollars are to be had by superman if he and his sidekick can fix the lottery. Students must rely on luck concerning their lottery; yet, superman can supersede luck because he and his partner have a lot of money. But they want more.

The definition of "fix" is different for politicians and businessmen than for regular people. For most, fixing the education system means making it better for the majority of people involved. For superman and his partner, fixing the lottery means using his influence and wealth to enable a tiny percentage of the population to suck money from the education system. If superman fixes the lottery, he is much more likely to 'win' the cash that comes from the business of education in America.

There are many problems with education in North America. Inviting businessmen into the sphere of education in such a manner is not a path to improvement of the majority.

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