'Waiting for Superman' Critic Reviews

86%
MovieWeb:   2 reviews
89%
Rotten Tomatoes:   117 reviews
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum Entertainment Weekly (Top Critic)
    84
    The movie goes right to the heart in focusing on the fates of some irresistibly real kids and the loving, frustrated parents and grandparents who care for them.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Stephen Holden New York Times (Top Critic)
    80
    A powerful and alarming documentary about America's failing public school system.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Philip French Guardian [UK] (Top Critic)
    A hectoring, simplistic affair that has nothing of value to contribute to the British debate.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Scott Bowles USA Today (Top Critic)
    As divisive as the issue has become, it's hard to deny the power of Guggenheim's lingering shots on these children, waiting on a superhero who isn't going to come.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Michael O'Sullivan Washington Post (Top Critic)
    88
    Waiting for 'Superman,' filmmaker Davis Guggenheim's scathing, moving critique of American public education, makes you actually want to do something after you dry your eyes.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Wesley Morris Boston Globe (Top Critic)
    75
    It's meant to infuriate you and break your heart enough that you feel compelled to do something. There's a great deal of agit with very little prop.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Melissa Anderson Village Voice (Top Critic)
    Guggenheim's insistence on not engaging with the injustices that children of certain races and classes face outside of school makes his reiteration of the obvious... seem all the more willfully naive.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal (Top Critic)
    This is a time when urgent issues are often explored in polemic documentaries, as well as a fateful moment when the future of public education is being debated with unprecedented intensity. Waiting for 'Superman' makes an invaluable addition to the debate
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Chris Vognar Dallas Morning News (Top Critic)
    90
    Waiting for 'Superman' won't satisfy anyone looking for a five-point plan. (It won't win many fans among teachers' unions, either.) On the other hand, if it's effective filmmaking you're after, look no further.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • James Rocchi MSN Movies (Top Critic)
    80
    ... emotionally engaging, as hopeful and honest as it is wrenching and moving.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • David Edelstein New York Magazine (Top Critic)
    This is one of the most galvanizing documentaries I've ever seen.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • David Denby New Yorker (Top Critic)
    We need another movie, one that shows us why some charter schools work and others dont.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times (Top Critic)
    88
    The film demonstrates (1) that quality education is possible for even the most disadvantaged students; (2) the cost is low, considering that high school dropouts often turn to crime when they can't find good jobs.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • J. R. Jones Chicago Reader (Top Critic)
    An admirable exercise in straight talk, especially in its tough assessment of the mediocrity-enforcing teachers' unions.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer (Top Critic)
    88
    As Guggenheim's camera gives us a close-up of the Educational Lotto, the implication is clear: Why gamble on the future of America's children? Instead of helping some kids beat the odds, how do we change the odds for all kids?
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Colin Covert Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    50
    The fact that most charters fare no better than regular public schools, or do worse, is only glancingly mentioned.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Tom Long Detroit News (Top Critic)
    75
    Davis easily ties a sick education system to a sick society. But when it comes down to it, in the end he has no clear cure for what ails us. At the very least, though, he has exposed the disease for all to see.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • John Anderson Variety (Top Critic)
    Exhilarating, heartbreaking and righteous, Waiting for Superman is also a kind of high-minded thriller: Can the American education system be cured?
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Kyle Smith New York Post (Top Critic)
    88
    Reform is not that hard, Guggenheim concludes. We know what makes for a good school: quality teachers. All we need is to bring in strong teachers to replace the weakest.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Roger Moore Orlando Sentinel (Top Critic)
    75
    The film is more overwhelming than uplifting.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Geoff Pevere Toronto Star (Top Critic)
    63
    There is no question that this is compelling viewing, especially considering the largely abstract and policy-driven nature of the crisis.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Guy Dixon Globe and Mail (Top Critic)
    75
    The heartbreak among children denied a proper education is irrefutable.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Andrew O'Hehir Salon.com (Top Critic)
    Guggenheim does not seem aware that extensive educational research has failed to identify what makes a "great teacher" or how to train one, nor that there are strikingly different and conflicting strategies for teaching literacy.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Dana Stevens Slate (Top Critic)
    You leave the film convinced that radical change is necessary but uncomfortable with the closing voice-over that assures you how simple it will be to implement it.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • John DeFore Hollywood Reporter (Top Critic)
    Davis Guggenheim tells some inconvenient truths about public education in compelling new doc.
    Full Review » 4 years ago