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USA 1988
Directed by
Ramon Menendez
99 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Stand And Deliver

Stand And Deliver is a fact-based account of real-life, system-bucking mathematics teacher, Jaime Escalante (played here by Edward James Olmos), who in 1982 took a class of unmotivated, underprivileged Mexican-American students in an East Los Angeles High School and coached them to take and pass a higher mathematics test so successfully that the students were wrongly accused of cheating.

Menéndez hovers close to, and sometimes indulges in, the sentimental and there is an over-tidiness to the unfolding of the narrative but it pulls up short of the mawkish and thus ultimately works as an inspirational, rather than simply a feel-good, movie. Edward James Olmos is excellent in the lead in what is the high-water mark of a long journeyman career in film and television (his other best-known role was in Blade Runner, 1982).

FYI: The film closes with a superimposition of the gradually increasing number of students who took the AP calculus test at Garfield High. Apparently in 1988 the principal who had supported Escalante with his AP program went on sabbatical and his replacement was less sympathetic. The program eventually collapsed and Escalante returned to his native Bolivia.




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