Review: ‘Operation Varsity Blues’ Reveals Hard Facts and Enrages Viewers


Arianne Cendon-Ruisanchez, Editor

The documentary “Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal,” released Wednesday, March 17th, portrays the drama of wealthy parents on the phone with Rick Singer, the independent college counselor who used bribes and fakery to get the untalented children of the super-rich into some of the best universities in the United States.

Such actions sent celebrities such as Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin to jail. We see some of those students in the moment of finding out they won’t be going to the school of their dreams.

Their devastation is enough to break the audience’s heart as the footage shows their places are being taken by people like Loughlin’s daughter, Olivia Jade — a social media influencer who didn’t meet the requirements for the university she was scammed her way into.

The documentary is extremely well made, mixing interviews with real-life witnesses and dramatic re-enactments. The re-enactments are taken directly from FBI transcripts. That means that when the FBI was tapping Singer’s phone — and they were tapping him for a while — they were collaborating on a screenplay without knowing it.

In the role of Singer, a Sacramento college admissions consultant, Matthew Modine suppresses all his humor and natural exuberance as he offers himself as a savior to his clients who desperately ask him for help in exchange for an enormous fee.

Many La Salle students are enraged by this situation and are glad that the documentary is bringing attention to such events. After all, they themselves work very hard to enroll in these prestigious universities.

“I really liked this document because there was so much information that I had no idea about regarding this case. It teaches people that you will always get caught when you do something wrong, which I think is a very important principle to recognize,” said Senior Marjorie Amaral.

They particularly enjoyed that the producer, Chris Smith, used real conversations between the incriminated parents and the FBI.

“I feel like it really emphasized the weight of this situation,” said Senior Sofia Arteaga. “Who knows how long this has been going on for.”

The documentary also touches on the already problematic college admissions process, including the use of standardized testing and how the rich have statistically shown to perform better than those of lower class.

Only those who are privileged have access to the best tutors and counselors for the test and have the ability to retake them as many times as necessary. All of these wealthy children had the tools for success, and yet their parents still felt the need to buy their education.

This film uncovers one of America’s greatest secrets, and although it causes sputtering rage within the audience, it is a must watch.