Stand and Deliver (1988)

This has been a favorite film of mine for over 15 years. I am a math teacher (though only practiced for 2 years) and it inspires me.

A public high school is struggling to keep its certification in the slums of East L.A. in 1980. Teacher Jaime Escalante walks into a math class of Hispanic economically disadvantaged grade 11s only to be raising them to the level of calculus in less than two years. We follow a handful of students as they face a broad spectrum of opposition and come out on top.

The pure force behind this film is the lead performance of Edward James Olmos. He is eccentric, loving and passionate, but most of all he exudes a frustration that is inevitable when working with youth who have low self-esteem.

The directing and writing is also very strong. The teens were white washed or glamourized at all which seems to be a rarity these days. We get a straight cross-section of what teens really were like in East L.A. and it makes the film that much more compelling.


No comments: