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New Film ‘Class Rank’ Mirrors the Activism Spirit of Today’s Teens

The new teen comedy, “Class Rank”, may stand out from its peers with its fresh take on hope and change that eerily mirrors the current political activism of teens after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida this past February.

At first glance, the trailer for the new teen flick starts out like your typical teen movie—all sass, gloss, and histrionics synonymous with adolescence. But just like many people at that age, the movie takes an unexpected turn—hinting at substance that resonates with current events.

“It’s just blind luck,” director Eric Stoltz told Entertainment Weekly—referring to the parallel with recent student walkouts protesting current gun laws.

“We made it before the roof caved in on our society and it’s finally coming out, just at the right time to have a film about smart and caring kids who want to affect change—change the rules and change the government.”

Class Rank follows an overachieving high school student (played by Olivia Holt, “Kickin’ It”) who enlists a fellow student to run for school board to overthrow the system that had relegated her to be number two in the class.

“I have shoes older than you,” an adult quips at the sixteen-year-old would-be candidate in the trailer.

Stolz explained: “Here’s the difference: these kids care, and it’s not about just getting ahead. They want to change the rules, and in their attempt to do so they end up changing themselves—but it’s about persevering and learning to fail better. It’s not necessarily about winning at all costs.”

Perhaps this film will add a new layer to the teen pop culture lexicon, better reflecting the depths of its constituents we’re seeing on display today.

Much praise has been heaped on the courage and determination of high school students organizing last month’s walkout to protest gun laws and the March For Our Lives event in Washington D.C.

Not everyone has been on board. There has been criticism of the students’ challenge to current gun laws which are protected under the Second Amendment, as well as conspiracy theories questioning the identity of protesters themselves.

Class Rank also stars Skyler Gisondo (“Santa Clarita Diet”), Kristin Chenoweth (“Glee”, “Pushing Daisies”), and Bruce Dern (Nebraska).

The film hits theaters and will be on-demand May 11.


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