“Operation Varsity Blues” review: Netflix’s hybrid documentary on college admissions scandal barely passes the “watch” test
It’s a showy way to illustrate what happened, but as is often the case with such efforts, too cute for its own good, blurring the lines between scripted drama and reality. Make a movie or make a documentary, but ultimately make up your mind and choose a path.
The feature film gives a better insight into how the program works and the extent to which these wealthy parents have fulfilled their own hopes and dreams through their children. “Parents apply to college, and the child is the vehicle through which they apply to college,” says Perry Kalmus, college admissions counselor.
Indeed, perhaps the most effective video incorporated into the documentary features children exulting or deflated when they receive notifications from universities – one says they feel “broken” by a rejection – highlighting both the pressure to which they face and the young people deprived of these triumphant moments because of the admissions. extended to peers whose parents used Singer’s “side door” to purchase their entry.
Akil Bello, an expert in test preparation, finally gets to the heart of the matter – and perhaps why so many people have had such a visceral reaction to this story – by asking, “Why did these parents choose to cheat when their children already had so much? “
That’s a good question, as is why “Operation Varsity Blues” felt compelled to dramatize a documentary that didn’t need this embellishment.
“Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal” premieres March 17 on Netflix.