“The world will recognize you only by your performance.”
High School is full of countless memorable moments, which, taken together, distill the essence of power and gender relations in an institutionalized setting. Wiseman visits nearly every type of classroom at this upper-middle-class high school, affording us a broad range of views: a fashion show (girls are criticized for not appearing pretty enough); a sex ed class; a girls’ calisthenics exercise; boys (but not girls) studying rocket science; and an idealistic English teacher attempting to reach her students through music. We are also privy to disciplinary actions, including one between a girl, her parents, and a (male) authority figure; and one in which a boy is chewed out for insubordination. The power of High School is the way in which each of these scenes allows for multiple, competing interpretations. Interestingly, the participants were initially pleased with the way they were portrayed in the film, and only became disgruntled once they started hearing critical feedback from the general public.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)