Lifetime wraps up its Ripped From the Headlines line-up with the highly-anticipated movie documenting The College Admissions Scandal.
Mia Kirshner and Penelope Ann Miller star in Lifetime’s take on what the FBI has dubbed Operation Varsity Blues. The College Admissions Scandal is the televised version of a highly-publicized scandal that broke earlier this year involving big-name actresses like Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman.
Surprisingly, unlike in the NXIVM cult film they aired in September, we don’t see versions of Loughlin and Huffman in this movie. Instead, the movie focuses on two ordinary mothers who follow loosely in the real footsteps of parents involved.
Kirshner’s character Bethany owns a successful financial services firm and Miller’s character Bethany is an interior designer. Both women get entangled with Rick Singer (Michael Shanks) a college admissions consultant (who is actually based on his real-life counterpart) who knows all the back entrances into prestigious and elite ivy-league universities.
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Caroline’s daughter works with her to dupe the system and get her into Yale, whereas Bethany’s son is kept completely in the dark as his mom and dad pay off Singer to get him into Stanford.
We’re taking a look at a few of the valuable lessons we learned from the movie.
3. If you’re taking fake photoshoots and doctoring photos, what you’re doing is probably illegal.
I liked Bethany’s character more because despite being ruthless, at least she was mostly honest about how messed up the stuff she was doing really was. Then you have Caroline who seems to think that it’s not that bad and totally normal. If there is ever a time in your life where you have to photoshop pictures to prove something happened that never really happened, you’re probably doing something illegal.
Bethany having her daughter stage a soccer game on a blue screen was even more diabolical but still! At what point did these people realize that they could potentially go to jail for doing what they did. I mean, seriously?
2. You can’t pretend what you’re doing is for your kids.
Both Caroline and Bethany used the excuse that what they were doing was all for their children multiple times throughout the movie. Danny rightfully calls his parents out on this blatant lie. They may think that’s what they’re doing and it may be their false motive, but in reality, they’re doing it because they want people to know they have a kid in an ivy league.
If they were working in their child’s best interest they would have cared more about what they wanted. Bethany had to manipulate her daughter into worrying about her boyfriend finding someone else with her not around. Danny’s parents kept him in the dark completely. Imagine how shattered his confidence will be now knowing that what he thought he achieved on his own with hard work was all a ruse paid for in hard cash?
1. Money can’t buy you everything.
Despite what our society would have you believe and what it seems to indicate by the tremendously wealthy 1%, at the end of the day, there are simply some things money cannot buy you. Yes, they may have gotten away with this particular scam for many years but they still eventually got caught.
You can’t expect to buy your way into schools and not eventually pay some kind of consequence for that. However, I’m not naive enough to believe that schemes such as the one that played out in real life and in this film won’t continue in more covert ways. But it’s nice to know that sometimes the people who believe they are entitled to anything they want get a swift dose of reality.
What did you think about The College Admissions Scandal? Which moments from the movie did you find the most shocking? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Next up for Lifetime is Patsy & Loretta, the film premieres on Oct. 19 at 8/7c.