This past Tuesday, media company Max came out with a new documentary called “Bama Rush”, which offered a behind-the-scenes look of the sorority recruitment process at the University of Alabama.
The phrase “Bama Rush” gained traction on TikTok in the summer of 2021, as many women documented their experience of rushing to join sororities at Alabama. On the social media platform, the recruiting process appeared lighthearted and pleasurable.
For those who aren’t directly involved in Greek life, it seems that the rumors and misconceptions circulating its activities often overshadow the realities of fraternities and sororities. So I was eager to learn more about the inner workings of these social groups through this documentary to formulate a more well-informed opinion on Greek life.
However, I was crestfallen with the film as it failed to provide any new groundbreaking revelations about this social phenomenon. It would be futile to discuss my thoughts about sororities when I didn’t gain a sufficient understanding of it through the documentary. Instead, I’d rather explore where the documentary fell short.
Overall, the film focused more on the individual struggles that the girls at Alabama were dealing with, rather than a comprehensive exploration of the rushing process.
There were some intriguing and novel insights such as how the origins of the sororities began as a way to foster solidarity among college women and to challenge the notion that women can’t succeed in academia. The documentary also provided shocking information about the powerful influence of “the Machine ‘’ and how it offered preferential treatment to those in Greek life. However, just as the story was starting to become more captivating, it fell flat. It failed to dive deeper into these interesting subject matters, leaving the viewers unsatisfyingly wanting more.
The last 20 minutes of the documentary was particularly disappointing. The focus started to stray off to the threats that the filmmakers of the documentary faced rather than the core subject of the rush process itself. And to offer her own personal anecdote of what she dealt with during the creation of this film, director Rachel Fleit often broke the fourth wall, which was highly unusual and unsettling as a viewer. This detracted from the overall story of Alabama’s rush.
It is worth noting that Fleit successfully humanized the often misunderstood sorority process by including the struggles and underlying attachment issues that these girls face. It gave viewers a better idea as to what spurs these girls to join sororities.
But ultimately, there was a lack of structure to the film. It simply felt like sound bites were thrown together for this documentary, which made the overall story very disjointed. Fleit could’ve done more to probe the sorority rush to give viewers more insight into the process.
This was a film that was highly anticipated, but unfortunately it didn’t live up to its expectations.