The Lottery (2010)

It’s been a long time since I was in grade school. I have vague memories of someone in my class eating paste and being sent to the principal’s office (no, it wasn’t me); of crayons and the lined paper with extra-wide lines; the smell of the cafeteria and the joy of recess; and of a 2nd grade group called Nature Nuts which met outside of class to explore the wonders of the natural world. While my memories are distant, there is no doubt that my elementary education helped shape the person I became. At the time, I didn’t know how lucky I was to attend a good school in my small town. However, after watching The Lottery, I realized that not everyone is given an equal opportunity in education.

The Lottery is a documentary about (wouldn’t you know it?) a lottery. However, this isn’t the kind of lottery where you could win multi-millions. This is one that changes peoples’ lives in a different way—by granting children entrance into one of New York City’s best charter schools. The Lottery not only follows four children as they go through the process, but shows the obstacles NYC charter schools face.


It’s strange how a movie can be both inspiring and depressing at the same time. As I watched the families and the children go through the process, I realized that it’s not likely that all four children will win the lottery. There are around 400 spots free and over 3,000 people hoping to get in. While it’s uplifting to see the world through the eyes of the featured kids, it’s also frustrating that the education system can be in such disrepair.


I feel like I could write a long rant about the topic of The Lottery, however I will just focus on the film itself for this post. I liked this documentary and felt it did an excellent job of arguing the points it wanted to make—about how schools and schools systems need to focus more on the children than adults, how the quality of education is affected by class, and how equality in education should be something the system strives for.


After watching this film, I want to watch Waiting for Superman (also on my instant queue) to see how it compares since it is about the education system as well. The Lottery is a well-crafted film about a relevant social topic. I found it well worth the 80 minutes I spent watching it. Overall, The Lottery is compelling, interesting, and certainly worth a look.


Thanks for reading and have a delightful day!


Score: B+

Netflix Watch Instantly Queue: 164

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