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At Lowell High School, the top public high school in San Francisco, the seniors are stressed out. As they prepare for the emotionally draining college application process, students are keenly aware of the intense competition for the few open spots in their dream colleges. At Lowell — where cool kids are nerds, nearly everyone has an amazing talent, and most of the student body is Asian American — the things that usually make a person stand out can feel commonplace. With humor and heart, director Debbie Lum captures the reality of the American college application process and the intersection of class, race, and educational opportunity as young adults navigate a quintessential rite of passage.
Atom User Reviews
While Try Harder! is an important tribute to these kids and their work, it’s also a rebuke of college apps in general.
Try Harder! is a charming dark comedy with a light touch, with part of its self-deprecating humor right there in the title.
As snapshots go of bright kids facing the next step, Try Harder! is winning enough, but considering how much more there is to follow up on, here’s hoping it’s only part one.