Accepted (2022) Movie Trailer

Several months after The Times’ exposé, an even bigger college admissions scandal broke in March 2019, Operation Varsity Blues, which implicated more than 50 well-heeled and connected parents, college coaches, exam administrators and others in the exchange of $15 million for placement at Ivy League schools and other elite institutions. The film shows T.M. Landry students reacting to the news, and commentators, some unattributed, explaining how one wrong (Operation Varsity Blues) begets the other (T.M. Landry). Now knowing the full scope of the systemic inequities they’re up against, do former T.M. Landry students have any regrets? Do they think they may have ended up in better colleges if everyone had just played along? Just as Chen doesn’t sniff out breaking news right under his nose, sometimes he’s not posing the obvious questions. Instead, the film succumbs to a conventional happy ending, with students heading off to HBCUs and state colleges.


Accepted ultimately arrives at a conclusion about the harmfulness of the “model minority” narrative without necessarily deploying the exact term, as it highlights the fact that these inspirational stories about marginalized people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps are often used to allow systemic inequities to fester. It’s a point Try Harder! also makes, but it’s especially compelling when it isn’t applied stereotypically to Asians, who have been caricatured that way. But to see black students framed as a model minority truly cements the damaging nature of the narrative, and the mental and emotional toll it takes on those forced into that box. And touching on these deeper issues without actually pinpointing the ones that need the most attention results in a documentary that ultimately misleads its audience in the same way its subject betrayed the filmmakers.