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Nursery University (2009)

Various , Marc H. Simon , Matthew Makar  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Nursery University + The Manhattan Directory of Private Nursery Schools, 7th Edition + How to Choose the Best Preschool for Your Child: The Ultimate Guide to Finding, Getting Into, and Preparing for Nursery School
Price for all three: $56.00

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Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Marc H. Simon, Matthew Makar
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: July 7, 2009
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001P8M9FU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,397 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Nursery University" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

Elaborate application forms. Grueling interviews. $4,000 consultants. College admissions? No - welcome to the preschool application process on the island of Manhattan. NURSERY UNIVERSITY takes an entertaining look at the shark-infested waters surrounding the most prestigious nursery schools in the country. For many parents, the right preschool means the right college and career for their child, and with 20 applicants for each spot, the process can be a grueling eight months. Told with humor and humanity, NURSERY SCHOOL reveals the sweet insanity of it all.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars view it as an unintended comedy of errors February 4, 2011
It's a documentary, but almost all of the characters are laughable shells of human beings. It's an anthropological study, a highly entertaining, hilarious one.

It's all surface agitation. Little introspection. No wisdom. Just yuppies doing what they see their peers doing. Monkey see monkey do. No critical ability. Ants and rats, going to and fro.

Lots of the people featured are first generation largely white newcomers to Manhattan/NYC, and seem unaware that they to an extent chose to enter a highly insular, regimented social milieu with its own arbitrary rules. They do not recognize that there are million other legitimate ways to live and educate children.

All the parents are reading the one book in print re nursery schools in NYC (by Victoria Goldman) and none of them seem to have thought that there are hundreds of perfectly good schools in other neighborhoods but are completely omitted from this book.

Rent it on Netflix; no need to buy. You won't want to watch it again. It's not artsy or timeless. It's more like social farce lite.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious on many levels June 21, 2010
This film is uproariously hilarious on many levels. Sources of laughter include the grammatical errors made by wealthy Manhattan parents and the directors of pricey ($20K per year) nursery schools, the unrelieved seriousness with which they take themselves, and their rock-solid certainty that NYC is the center of the universe.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A subculture you never knew about October 25, 2012
I wholly diagree with the reviewers who were digusted with the parents. I felt that most of the parents cared very much for their children! I saw the parents interacting with their children positively such as playing with them, teaching them numbers and how to spell their names. I feel that the pressure was put upon themselves, and never for the children to behave a certain way. And whoever thinks it's dumb to pay that much money for a school has obviously lost sight of porportion. $20k to them may be a $200 to you. I think it's silly to spend $100 for a new video game or up to $200 for the coolest new shoes for school, but lots of people do it. If they have it, they should spend what they like, it's not coming from you!

As for the movie, I like that they used a broad spectrum of people: the rich snobs you imagine, the more down to earth rich people, the poorer minority, the bohemians and the single mom with special ed requirements. I wish they went more in depth with the real reason these families go through this process. I suspect for the wealthy families, it not just about education, but more aboout networking. Your kids will grow up next to kids of the other social circles you wish to interact with. Isn't that what Ivy League is for? Plenty of schools are excellent and will produce adults with great careers. Ivy League has a network that opens into (or maintains) a certain social circle that education by itself can't get you. And networks do help in life! I'd say it's most important. Most people I know got their job by knowing someone who knew someone. For the immigrants, I'd like to see more of what kind of education was a good education to them. What is their acceptable standards? For the single mom, I want to know if she felt guilty for having a child that was slightly developmentally impaired?

The movie was a clean and bright view of world many of us don't get to see, which was a documentary should be.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What about those who didn't get in? October 20, 2010
I have seen NURSERY UNIVERSITY on cable several times...I watched it with fascination in spite of myself. Years ago, when I was in my early 20's, I took a break from college and lived and worked in Manhattan...surely the epicenter of the universe, I thought...the place where IT all happened...a place of endless possibilities...provided one had sufficient funds to enjoy it all. My experience there provided part of my fascination with this movie, which is exceptionally well produced and edited. While the subject matter isn't going to appeal to a wide audience, it has a universality which is compelling...we all want our kids to have every advantage possible, to do whatever we can as parents to give them the education that will propel them ahead and into successful adulthood. What Nursery University does is examine a minuscule segment of the population that is in the 99th percentile in terms of income and advantage, as a group of parents voluntarily ratchet up their already high stress levels in pursuit of what they have convinced themselves is the "magic key" to unlimited possibilities for their offspring. While the saga is engaging and very entertaining, the longer I watched it, the more I kept asking myself: "what will happen to all those children that DIDN'T make the cut..are they doomed to the periphery?
Furthermore, do these parents REALLY BELIEVE getting a spot in the top play school is going to make that much difference in 20 years? What about, if after thousands of dollars spent on tuition to all the best schools, smart little Judy or Johnny finds out being at the top of the heap just isn't what it was cracked up to be....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, Fun to Scoff at August 21, 2011
Format:Amazon Instant Video
Wow...from the "drunk with power" admissions advisers to the "crazy look in her eye" stepford mom, to the sexually confused super anal dad, this doc is a fun ride beginning to end. These folks approach the nursery school admissions process with the same vigor as a deluded stalker. The most fun was watching the the admissions rip the parents to shreds in the decision making process. This precarious situation gives these teachers some power and they lord it over these foamy mouthed parents with cruel delight. I wish they would have included more footage of this and let it get really nasty. Like any good doc, there are a few redeemable parents and teachers who come across as sympathetic to balance the insanity.

The parents believe that a good nursery school with lead to a good pre-school, etc, etc, until the child eventually makes it to Harvard. I do think we live in a society that places a value on credentials. I would be interested in a follow-up with these children or a poll of recent ivy league graduates' nursery schools. I went to a private liberal arts college and this actually reminded me a lot of the Frat/Sorority rushing process. The rationale being that if you made it into the right sorority you would have good contacts and get the right job, etc. Is the notion of contacts a ridiculous idea? I don't think think so, but I personally think there are other things that are much more important to success. Gives one something to think about.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Are people crazy!!
This was amazing to see how much they would spend and to what lengths people would go to just to get their child into pre-K!! Read more
Published 7 months ago by SLCornwell
1.0 out of 5 stars Remotely mediocre
It was very challenging to even download and get amazon film to work and stream to TV. When we finally got the film to work, it was mediocre. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Erin
5.0 out of 5 stars Documentary
I love documentaries and this one was wonderfully done and entertaining. I highly recommend it and it is informative as well.
Published 13 months ago by Glenna Hadley
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Laugh
The parents probably thought it was serious but the producers knew how to make the movie funny and entertaining. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Pretty Lady
5.0 out of 5 stars Nursery University Short Review
I was absolutely amazed at what these parents had to maneuver just to get their kids into a 'good' preschool program. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Melissa
3.0 out of 5 stars Eh?
Didn't really like any of the parents and there was no exposure to the children (aside from the parent's fawning over them). None of them seemed genuine at all.
Published 18 months ago by STL dad
5.0 out of 5 stars Great documentary!
This is a good look into how societal demands change based on where you live. It definitely makes me appreciate that I don't have to be so cut throat when it comes to my kids'... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Kimberly A. Marchelle
5.0 out of 5 stars Entrance into Nursery School as Competative as Getting into College
A must see and eye opener for parents living in NYC, Chicago, etc. They will not believe what it takes to get their newborn into nursery school.
Published 20 months ago by Pamela J McGuire
4.0 out of 5 stars Helps set expectations and be prepared
This documentary helped me understand the process and stress parents go through to find a good nursery. Read more
Published on October 9, 2012 by Monk Fan
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting
I found this DVD to be very fascinating. It documents the crazy process of getting children into preschools in New York City. Read more
Published on August 31, 2012 by purpletiger
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