Sundance 2023: “Radical”

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

It is a bit tiresome to hear only negative news. News that does not bring positive value to our lives. We are not that naïve, though. Nothing we hear or get should benefit us all the time. Yet, better news reaches us slower than bad ones. That’s why watching films like “Radical” is eye-opening, as it allows us to learn about truly inspiring stories that occurred in real life. It’s a tough journey for everyone involved. But it takes one to make it a bit easier on those that rely on our softness more often – children.

Written and directed by Christopher Zalla, “Radical” offers a heartwarming real-life encounter between a teacher who found an extraordinary way to help troubled children to gain knowledge at school. Students at Jose Urbina Lopez Elementary School are the worst performing in entire Mexico. Corruption, poverty and violence are major contributing factors causing sixth-grade students to perform poorly. But once the new teacher, Sergio (Eugenio Derbez), joins the school, the overwhelming discipline, strict rules and a constant demand are no longer present, as he offers his way of teaching to increase the desire in students to learn.

Sergio’s attempt is not to educate the next president of Mexico or create a new leader, but his approach and the results he delivers show that he can create a competitive environment where every single child that comes from poverty can claim a higher spot in society. Stories like this should be told because it gives hope to humanity, and there is a chance for everyone to stand out even in the harshest environment. It’s moving all around, engaging, funny at times and crucial for everyone to watch this wonderful film that will make you a different person once the credits fade to black.

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