Claire: I hated how much this movie made me think about college admissions, and specifically how it dredged up a smug feeling from my 18-year-old self, a sense that I get how this whole game really works. Why is his dad determined to shut down Yale before seeing what kind of financial aid his son would get? Yale has a huge endowment! Why isn’t Brooks applying to a number of options? Why does he start his admissions essay ― to Yale ― with the statement “I’m Brooks Rattigan”? Though his guidance counselor effectively tears his first draft to shreds, he seems extremely set on that opening line. Buddy, that’s not Yale material. Brooks has good grades but none of his dad’s literary gifts and apparently no particular interests or passions; in 2019, what ambitious high school kid doesn’t know that he needs to found a nonprofit or climb Kilimanjaro to set his application apart? And again, what time of year is this ? We never see a hint of cold weather, and time seems to be collapsed such that he is almost simultaneously receiving admissions letters, preparing applications and well past the deadlines for applications. But the fact that Brooks is so obsessed with Yale ― and that his super-indie, rebellious friend Celia wants to go to one of the top public universities in the country, out of state ― plays into a faux-meritocratic value system that has come to seem increasingly hollow, especially in the wake of the Operation Varsity Blues scandal.