If you're like me, you might not think the California Bar Exam would be the most engaging topic for a documentary. When I heard there was a doc about future lawyers studying for the bar, I wasn't terribly excited about making sure I caught it. But then I kept hearing buzz about A Lawyer Walks Into a Bar in lines for other films -- people were talking, and they were liking what they saw, so I added the film to my list. And, as is so often the case at a fest with so many films, the buzz turned out to be spot-on.

The film follows six ambitious law school grads who are studying for the California Bar Exam, which has a pass rate of only 39%. Prepping for the bar is one of the most grueling intellectual endurance races a person can take on: months and months of study and prep classes memorizing vast quantities of information, so you can take a stressful exam on which your entire future -- not to mention your ability to pay off your $100K or more student loan debt -- rides. Pressure? Yeah, just a bit, and filmmaker Eric Chaikin keeps the pace flowing as we go back and forth among the subjects, hearing their stories and growing to really care whether they pass.
categories Reviews, Cinematical