Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim again makes another enormous engrossing documentary that centers on pupils without stoking politics very much.
Waiting for Superman, a must-see for parents, is mindful of what statistics really are in education. They have names like Anthony, Francisco, Bianca, Daisy, and Emily as some important stories of these children move from D.C. to Harlem to Los Angeles to Silicon Valley.
L.A.'s Daisy is among the students who have entered a lottery to win a spot at a better school and Anthony of inner-city D.C. is hard in thought with what is a simple subtraction equation. He replies that the kind of learning he needs is one with more homework rather than playing and glued to a TV.
Guggenheim, who also made the compelling generational guitarist documentary It Might Get Loud, more than suggests that so many aren't getting anything from a public education and can't apply themselves.
Here's a contrast from the PowerPoint presentation of climate-change activist Al Gore in the filmmaker's award-winning An Inconvenient Truth that works from a foundation of needing a more rigorous education and gambling on the opportunity to enter "mediocre" schooling.
The movie (with notable graphics and animations) refers to the old Superman television program starring George Reeves. One of the inspiring figures is the CEO of Harlem's Children Zone, Geoffrey Canada, who explains that he thought the 'Man of Steel' would swoop in one day and save him and his classmates.
Waiting For Superman may rile up and spark debate for more than a few as it speaks to a heated issue as the filmmaker confesses he drives his kids for their private education while passing public schools. The research by Guggenheim and his diligent assistants bring to light a steadfast teachers union, "problem teachers" who have a "professional detention" as well as programs like Knowledge Is Power Program - KIPP - which happens to be in areas limited in resources.
Essentially, the young and so teachable stand tall with much on the line as these "heroes" see if their numbers are called. The chance to provide a better future is presented with thoughtful poignancy and effective lasting images in locating something personal and profound for those who probably won't have the superhero they need to appear.