Watch Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal
- 1 hr 39 min
Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal is a 2021 docudrama film that delves into the infamous scandal that rocked the American education system in 2019. Directed by Chris Smith, the movie stars Matthew Modine, Roger Rignack, Jillian Peterson, and a host of other actors who depict the corrupt practices that wealthy parents used to secure admission for their children into elite universities.
The film mainly centers on Rick Singer (played by Modine), a smooth-talking conman who ran a "side door" scheme for parents looking to secure admission for their children into elite universities like Yale, Stanford, and USC. Singer's intricate plot involved bribing coaches and administrators, doctoring test scores, and even faking some student's athletic abilities, all in the quest to secure spots for his clients.
The story is told through a mix of reenactments and real-life footage, with the actors portraying the parents and coaches involved in the scheme. The film takes the viewer through a step-by-step account of how the scam worked, right from the initial contact between Singer and his clients to the eventual arrest of the culprits.
Operation Varsity Blues' most striking aspect is its unflinching focus on the individuals involved in the scheme. The film lays bare their motivations, their conniving ways, and the effect their actions had on the education system. The story is punctuated by interviews with experts, academics, and journalists who provide insight into the scandal's repercussions and the wider implications on social mobility in the United States.
One of the most endearing aspects of the film is how it paints the picture of parents who had become obsessed with their children's future and were willing to go to great lengths to create the illusion of academic excellence. However, as the story unravels, the viewer is confronted with the fact that the side door scheme perpetuates the country's class system and is inherently unfair to students from less privileged backgrounds. The film leaves no doubt that this practice is about power, privilege, and prestige.
The performances by the actors are stellar, especially Modine's portrayal of Singer, a character that exudes charisma, guile, and ruthless ambition. Singer is an enigmatic character that keeps the viewer captivated as the story unfolds. The other actors also deliver convincing performances, fleshing out characters that seem to have abandoned their moral compasses in pursuit of their self-interests.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the film is how it casts light on the complicity of the institutions involved in the scheme. The movie is not just a critique of wealthy parents' behavior but also of the education system at large. The side door scheme exploited blind spots in the admission process, and the movie shows how universities and colleges were willing to look the other way as long as they received the hefty donations associated with these schemes.
The film also highlights how the case exposes significant flaws in an education system that prioritizes standardized test scores over other criteria that could provide a more deliberate and equitable assessment of a student's abilities. The side door scheme exploited the vitriol for standardized tests, diminishing their value further and exposing the frailty of a system that puts undue emphasis on these assessments.
Overall, Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal, is a fascinating exploration of a scandal that rocked the United States' academic world. It is a sobering indictment of an education system that privileges the wealthy and powerful at the expense of the marginalized. The film is a perfect example of how storytelling can serve as a platform for social commentary and a call to action.
Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal is a 2021 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 39 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9 and a MetaScore of 70.