And you thought getting into Harvard was hard

Marc Simon’s Nursery University (in theaters tomorrow and premiering on Showtime next month) follows six children through the unbelievably competitive admissions processes employed by Manhattan’s private preschools. The kids are cute; the system couldn’t be much uglier.

Simon spent 12 months conducting tell-all interviews with developmental psychologists, school directors, and private consultants. He also followed parents as they endured feverish speed-dialing sessions, high-stakes “play” interviews, and quasi-ethical charity auctions — all for the privilege of paying $20,000 a year for their kids’ pre-K educations. The documentary is rated PG, but it does contain disturbing scenes; in fact, it’s something of a horror movie.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. And you thought getting into Harvard was hard