Film FestivalsMovie ReviewsAt the Ready – Sundance Review (2021)

JulieGApril 1, 20219 min

At the Ready Sundance 2021

IMDb Rating: 6.8

1h 36min | Documentary | Movie

Metacritic: 80/100

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 89% Fresh (Critics)

Director:  Maisie Crow



Movie Tagline:  

IMDb summary: A group of seniors train to become police officers and Border Patrol agents at El Paso’s Horizon High School, near the U.S./Mexico border.



Originally reviewed by Julie for

To seek a career in law enforcement would be challenging enough for most of us. But for several teenagers living in El Paso, Texas, the opportunities offered are too good to pass up. Particularly when you’re living close to the border of Mexico. At the Ready is a documentary that follows three teenagers who have their hearts set on a law enforcement career and the border patrol. They are currently training for both the job itself and team competition that could see them walk away with medals and invaluable experience they can use when they finally apply. It’s a lot to take on.

Most of these students are also in their last year of high school and looking to graduate. As we follow their day-to-day, we see glimpses of how hard life can be when opportunities for the future are scarce. Family life for some of these students is tough going. And some teachers, most of whom have all been in law enforcement, are closer to these students because of their struggles. Sometimes life takes over, and even though these students genuinely want to make something of themselves, not all of them will reach their goals.

The talented team of women behind At the Ready is impressive, with Maisie Crow directing and producing. Crow is an award-winning photojournalist. She is joined by producers Abbie Perrault and Hillary Pierce – all of whom base themselves in Texas. It’s important to note that the film feels very raw because you can feel the production team’s connection to the material. It’s a level of authenticity that is impossible to emulate. And as a result, we are privy to watching a well-crafted, educational and emotional piece. Each student has their own story to tell – their highs, their lows and everything in-between. It was immensely satisfying to see these students learning and growing and coming out the better for it, even if their journeys veered off the original path.

In the end, At the Ready is a film that is uncompromising in its honesty. It is a rare view into an aspect of life for teens in El Paso, Texas that will leave viewers thinking about them for hours after.

At The Ready is a beautifully crafted documentary offering a candid glimpse into the hopes and aspirations of three Texas teenagers.

This trailer is an interview with the creators of At the Ready from the Sundance Film Festival this year:

At the Ready Sundance

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Freelance entertainment writer and reviewer. Visit my blog on

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