When It Breaks Image

When It Breaks

By Alan Ng | April 30, 2020

I don’t think the statistics are all too surprising. 41% of teachers leave the profession after five years. Every year 15% of all teachers nationally quit, meaning 500,000 vacated positions must be filled by the fall. When it comes to special needs teachers themselves, the passion is there to inspire their students, but passion succumbs to frustration as many are forced to apply for outside grants, because the district has no money set aside. Also, for the sake of integration, many special needs classes are shut down to integrate students. The problem is without additional aides in the classroom, the well-meaning program and doomed from the start.

So, the question—teacher or rock star. For Konrad, this is the question he’s faced with during the third act of the film. He’s offered a teaching position in the fall that will keep him financially stable and fulfill one passion for education. Yet, the alternative is to travel and sing. Here he is equally effective in spreading the message of education reform. It’s not an easy decision for Konrad by any means.

“…passion succumbs to frustration as many are forced to apply for outside grants…”

We know education is an important issue, but issue aside, I have to tell you whether the documentary is worth watching. First, Konrad Wert is a gifted singer and musician. His music and performances play throughout the film in either concert footage or as the film’s soundtrack. Honestly, his performance style reminds me of church with his message-oriented music, but not sure how far he’s gets on The Voice.

I would also classify the documentary as a concert tour film. We get a taste of life on the road and trying to raise two young children with his supportive wife. There’s also a moment Wert has to fix/oversee a flat tire. One thing you don’t see in the documentary is ironical, a classroom.

The film’s only weakness is that it hits the same note from beginning to end. I’d like to think that we agree that the underfunding of education is a problem everywhere. Agreement means you’ve already won over your audience, and the job of persuasion is easy but now repetitive. By the end, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Yeah, I get it. What else do you have?”

What helps in When It Breaks is that Konrad Wert is a likable and charismatic subject. He’ll hold your attention, and you’ll hear an abundance of inspiring stories of teachers across America trying to make a difference. Education is an important issue to talk about, and that fact in the film will be reinforced over and over again.

When It Breaks (2020)

Directed and Written: Todd Tue

Starring: Konrad Wert, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

When It Breaks Image

"…he’ll hold your attention, and you’ll hear an abundance of inspiring stories…"

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