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Based on 10 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( 3 )
  • 50
    Peter Hartlaub San Francisco Chronicle

    The Providence Effect" is flawed, but it's still a moving film. show more

  • 75
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    Impressive, although not quite the film it could have been. It asks few hard questions. show more

  • 63
    Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune

    For the film to be truer to the school’s reputation, it would have had to dig a little deeper. show more

  • 38
    V.A. Musetto New York Post

    Adams and the school's students and teachers deserve an A-plus, although the film rates a much lower grade. It unfolds lifelessly, as Binzer parades a contingent of talking heads before the camera in what could pass for an infomercial. show more

  • 60
    S. James Snyder Time Out New York

    Swooning but shallow. show more

  • 80
    Kenneth Turan Los Angeles Times

    If anything is missing from this inspiring film, it is a deeper examination of why, given how common-sensical these approaches are, so few other schools have been able to accomplish what Providence St. Mel's has. show more

  • 80
    Andrea Gronvall Chicago Reader

    This uplifting documentary breaks no new ground stylistically, but the story it tells is urgent and compelling. show more

  • 70
    Village Voice

    The film never completely shakes the feel of being more an advertisement than a documentary, but once it settles into a concrete illustration of Adams's philosophy ("You've got to believe and expect that the children can achieve"), it becomes riveting. show more

  • 70
    Jeannette Catsoulis The New York Times

    More an infomercial than a movie, Rollin Binzer’s awed documentary is, at best, a well-earned tribute to one man’s unwavering vision and unrelenting hard work. show more

  • 70
    Washington Post

    Though it drags on a bit, the film is certainly good-hearted, informative and relevant. We look through the doors of the St. Mel's classrooms and we see the whirrings of a school that can help a smart West Side kid land a spot at MIT. That, at least, is something to celebrate. show more

  • October 22, 2009 Margaret Opine
    Report This User

    DOCUMENTARY FUNDRAISER FOR A GREAT AMERICAN EFFORT is 5***** ANY DAY. Go and see some major stereotypes dismissed!. (iT'S A PRIVATE SCHOOL, NO GOVERNMENT FUNDING; the students are from depressed neighborhoods yet they rise to the challenge..) One of the best schools in the U. S. The critic reviews are comical and reeks of a dirty emotion but one critic asked why this approach is not used in other schools--what schools-- America's Public Schools at-large and even some private schools? Hasn't this critic heard how bad education is in the United States as a whole? We import talent. This model is not new and it certainly is not new for the African Americans. It comes straight out of the Booker T. Washington, Mary McCloud Bethune, Tuskegee, and W.E.B. DuBois tradition with a new spin: the children are taught an emphasis on individual pride instead of a sense of collective pride, as in: race. That's was the original tradition when African Americans lived under American apartheid called segregation. Today, the U.S. culture is not fundamentally racist, though racism still exist. Today's fundamentals are for substantiating the individual and the individual'a potential. WHATEVER WORKS! iT IS ALSO NOTEWORTHY TO SAY THAT discipline is strict, structure is strict; that is soemthing most American children will forever find difficult. That's American culture too. We need to change that. Our children do not know the fundamentals for living and aspiring to their excellent selves. --MO

  • October 02, 2009 cutedgm02
    Report This User


  • September 28, 2009 djgotaas
    Report This User

    It clearly points out the potential for schools when leadership including parents desire to provide an excellent education for the children. The challenge is not easy, but it is doable. For all public and private school leaders, how does yoru school compare?

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