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Best Kept Secret

  NR HD Closed Captioning

Samantha Buck

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Plot Summary

Winner of the 2013 Peabody Award, and a NY Times' Critics Pick. JFK High School, located in the midst of a run-down area in Newark, New Jersey, is a public school for all types of students with special education needs, ranging from those on the autism spectrum to those with multiple disabilities. Janet Mino has taught her class of young men with autism for four years. When they all graduate in the spring of 2012, they will leave the security of the public school system forever. Best Kept Secret follows Ms. Mino and her students over the year and a half before graduation. The clock is ticking to find them a place in the adult world - a job or rare placement in a recreational center - so they do not end up where their predecessors have, sitting at home, institutionalized, or on the streets.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 11
  • Fresh: 11
  • Rotten: 0
  • Average Rating: 7.9/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: It spotlights an important issue yet never seeks to squeeze the truth into an easily digestible narrative frame. Instead it expands its storytelling to the boundaries of messy, joyful and painful reality. – Miriam Bale, New York Times, Sep 6, 2013

Fresh: Unlike the majority of autism docus about white, middle-class children, Samantha Buck's film examines the poverty of options available to working-class black and Latino young adults once they leave the safe confines of the classroom. – Ronnie Scheib, Variety, Sep 9, 2013

Fresh: [Inserts] the viewer into the overwhelming experience of teaching, parenting, even being an underprivileged young adult with autism. – Annlee Ellingson, Los Angeles Times, Sep 5, 2013

Fresh: This deeply moving but thankfully unsentimental doc is both inspiring and depressing. – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter, Sep 9, 2013

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Amazing, beautiful, inspiring, and funny!

This film is not only about autism and aging out, but also one of those secret heroines who quietly change lives every day. Janet Mino (who, by the way, happens to be gorgeous) is a teacher at a school in Newark who works with severely autistic young men before they "age out" of the school system. There are so many wonderful moments here, and you get to know the unique, often personalities of her students as well. When I saw this film on POV, it made me laugh and cry in equal measures. DO NOT MISS!

Very moving

Best Kept Secret sensitively and beautifully portrays the issues and challenges facing these autistic young men. Heartwarming and lovely.

Amazing and inspiring!

This doc stands out by focusing on its subjects as human beings. Through a fly-on-the-wall approach, you see the little successes, breakthroughs, frustrations, and failures of these students. You really get to know them and their families, and it's only by seeing things from their perspective that you start to get a sense of how the world works if you're poor and autistic. It's not a film where you just see an endless barrage of statistics and graphics and calls to action, and it's not a film designed to convince you that everything is hopeless either. There is a point of view, but it's a point of view that is nuanced and complex, without easy answers.

And though the students are great, the heart of the film is their teacher Janet Mino. You couldn't invent a more passionate, hard-working, and inspiring person to focus on - truly incredible.

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Best Kept Secret
View In iTunes
  • $12.99
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Released: 2013

Customer Ratings