Reviewed by: John Dickerson
Taking an upper level math test doesn’t exactly sound like the makings of a fun night at the movies. “Stand and Deliver”, however, delivers a surprisingly suspenseful and, most importantly, true story of inner city high school students challenged to tackle the rigorous AP calculus exam as a means of earning college credit and escaping the vicious cycle of barrio life.
Edward James Olmos portrays teacher Jaime Escalante, who befriends, prods and inspires his students to believe in their abilities and apply them toward this seemingly unattainable goal. A modern day “David and Goliath” story, “Stand and Deliver” vividly demonstrates the need to have a vision along with the faith and hard work often required to bring that vision to reality. The engaging group of students headed by “tough guy” Angel (Lou Diamond Phillips) is shown constantly facing and overcoming the temptations to bail out on the rigorous course work and succumb to the immediate but fleeting gratification of coasting through their senior year.
Profanities are actually relatively infrequent and mild, considering the rough East Los Angeles setting of the film. Violence is shown only briefly and then not graphically in some minor student brawling and vandalism. Premarital sex is referred to in a few comments and a too passionate kiss between two of the calculus students. As a home schooler, the only other somewhat offensive area for me was when teacher Escalante exerted his authority against a parent’s wishes for his daughter’s future.
While no direct mention is made of the Lord or His “Good Book,” this feel-good true story might at least inspire you or your kids to hit the math books!
Year of Release—1988