Peeking Into Private-School Paranoia

Alexandra Cheney:

At a time when it is harder than ever to secure a kindergarten spot in one of New York City’s elite private schools, Delaware transplants Jeffrey and Samantha Jasinski decided to jettison any decorum and lie their 5-year-old daughter, Beatrice, into a top-flight institution. The couple had tried the traditional route, attending open houses and informational interviews, only to be summarily dismissed by more than a half dozen schools. So they hired a consultant and concocted a complex fabrication. Jeffrey, a computer programmer, suddenly became a renowned poet with a forthcoming collection culled from sexually explicit text messages. With that, the Jasinskis were granted a rare interview with the headmistress at Coventry Day School.
At least, that’s how it all happened in the mind of filmmaker Josh Shelov, whose new movie, “The Best and the Brightest,” takes a satirical look at the lengths to which parents often go to get their children into the city’s private schools.
“I was eager to write something deeply uncensored,” said the first-time director, who based the story on his own experiences trying to get his son into kindergarten about five years ago. He succeeded.