Try Harder!

critic Reviews

, 96% Fresh Tomatometer Score
  • Straightforward and disarmingly, charmingly sincere, Try Harder! follows college-bound students through their final year of high school.
  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Josh FlandersChicago Reader
    An interesting film about how kids pursue things without knowing why, at its best when occasionally digging deeper into issues of race, stereotypes, and privilege.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Alissa WilkinsonVox
    It's a very funny movie about a bunch of students trying to find their way through a system that is designed to keep them out rather than let them in.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Brian TallericoRogerEbert.com
    Director Debbie Lum carefully deconstructs the life of over-achievers going through the brutal and rigorous process of college applications, one that can often seem random and unfair.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Randy MyersSan Jose Mercury News
    The agonizing process trying to get into the best college imaginable is depicted vividly in Bay Area filmmaker Debbie Lim's irresistible documentary...
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Jessica KiangVariety
    [A] simultaneously charming and chastening documentary...
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Ryan LattanzioindieWire
    Cinematically, "Try Harder!" is as unfussy as any doc, but it's also impossible to resist.
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  • , Rotten Tomatometer Score
    Sam C. MacIn Review Online
    Try Harder! registers as less a probing reflection of its sociopolitical environment than a carefully groomed product of its filmic context.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Ricardo GallegosBut Why Tho? A Geek Community
    An endearing, fun, and honest understanding of student pressures...
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Audrey FoxWe Live Entertainment
    The greatest strength of Try Harder! is how it finds moments where these remarkable kids' personalities shine through. We can see beyond the grade-grubbing, SAT-obsessed high achiever persona into who these students actually are.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Dennis Harvey48 Hills
    This documentary is too fast-paced and engaging to be a downer, but on the other hand you don't really envy the pressure its likable young subjects are under.
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