‘Public Schooled’ film review
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
There are a lot of high school films about people in high school. However, there are far fewer films about homeschooling, which makes this film stand out. Public Schooled shows what being homeschooled is like and how public school might not hold as much value as homeschooling.
Liam (Daniel Doheny) has been homeschooled for his entire life by his mother Claire (Judy Greer), and he is about to do his graduation requirement test in a public school. When he finishes his test early and sees a one-legged girl named Anastasia (Siobhan Williams), he goes back inside the gym, changes his answers, and does not pass the test because he wants to experience what public school is like.
With the help of the principal of Cherry High School (Andrew McNee), Liam substitutes for a sick student named Maria (Eva Day) for a week and does all the activities that she does, tries to spend time with Anastasia, and learns life lessons from Claire at home. Director Kyle Rideout uses modern filmmaking to show how Liam gets around public school and gives the movie a nostalgic feel of high school films in the 1980s. There are a lot of twists throughout the film that will cause you to question how it will end. Will Liam get his girl and will he pass his graduation requirement test the second time?
The songs in the film have a distinctly BC sound, as they were composed by local artists. The homeschool scenes will cause you to think about the things that you learned in high school Planning class in another way. The film shows that the education of homeschooling can have more value with its one-on-one approach, though you might not have a lot of friends like in public school.
During a Q&A after the screening of the film at the Vancouver International Film Festival, one of its producers, Josh Epstein, described how they were able to get a lot of famous international and local actors, thanks to their great casting director. Russell Peters plays a school councillor, Kim’s Convenience star Andrea Bang plays a protesting homeschooled student named Autumn, and Hawaii Five-O star Grace Park plays her mother, Mackenzie. Also, Rideout can be seen playing Liam’s uncle and Epstein is seen as the adjudicator of the graduation requirement test.
At the Q&A, I asked some of the people in the film if they drew upon personal experiences when they were filming it. Most of them told me that they used personal experiences from school, though they were not like the characters that they played in the film. Also, Doheny and Day attended the screening in-character.
Public Schooled has a lot of funny moments and twists and when you see it, you might feel like you have been schooled. Public Schooled airs on The Movie Network soon.