Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Nov 11, 2013
    100
    I can’t think of another film portrait of higher education that matches this one for comprehensiveness, intellectual depth, and hope.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Nov 8, 2013
    100
    The fierce, questing intelligence of these students and educators is a perfect match for Wiseman’s own.
  3. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Nov 8, 2013
    100
    A documentary necessarily conveys a point of view, and although Mr. Wiseman, as is his wont, is neither seen nor heard in a film that proceeds without commentary or subtitles, his spirit is palpable. Without overtly editorializing, the film quietly and steadfastly champions state-funded public education available to all.
  4. Reviewed by: Ben Kenigsberg
    Nov 6, 2013
    100
    An exhilarating, four-hour immersion in life at the University Of California campus.
  5. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    Sep 30, 2013
    100
    One of Wiseman’s best, a summation of sorts of a career’s worth of principled filmmaking from a director in his ninth decade.
  6. Reviewed by: Oliver Lyttelton
    Sep 30, 2013
    100
    It's a state-of-the-nation masterwork, a vitally important piece of work, and should be seen by as many people as possible.
  7. Reviewed by: Peter Keough
    Dec 5, 2013
    88
    The observations coalesce into a cogent whole, providing insights that are never overtly stated.
  8. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    Nov 15, 2013
    88
    It wants to put you smack-dab in the middle of a particular place during a particular time, and let you marinate in that place and time through quiet montages and long—sometimes very long—scenes.
  9. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Sep 30, 2013
    88
    Frederick Wiseman's At Berkeley isn't only a study of the contemporary American university, but, like all of the filmmaker's best documentaries, a wide-ranging inquiry into the larger institutions and contradictions that define life in the United States.
  10. Reviewed by: David D'Arcy
    Nov 7, 2013
    83
    Wiseman takes it all in, but don’t fall victim to the common error of ascribing objectivity to the veteran docmaker. Wiseman is a radical shaper and editor of his subjects.
  11. Reviewed by: David Parkinson
    Sep 8, 2014
    80
    At the venerable age of 84, documentary maven Wiseman hasn't lost his touch.
  12. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Nov 14, 2013
    80
    At Berkeley is more than the sum of its minutes. Narration-free and artfully discursive, it's a one-of-a-kind mosaic portrait of a great institution struggling, under dire stress, to retain its essential character at a time of declining support for public education.
  13. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Nov 5, 2013
    80
    Wiseman's generally static camera spends prolonged periods of time in the classroom, at student gatherings, and in the halls of educational power, training a multifaceted gaze on opinions regarding an economic shift affecting faculty salaries, subsidized programs, student tuition, and the university's fundamental "public" character.
  14. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    Sep 30, 2013
    80
    At times fascinating, at times not, its in-depth look at the administration, campus, students and faculty offers an insider's view into the way American academia functions.
  15. Reviewed by: Bill Stamets
    Jan 2, 2014
    75
    At Berkeley earns credit for documenting a distinctly articulate community.
  16. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Nov 14, 2013
    70
    An involving portrait of what's called "one of the world's most powerful knowledge-producing institutions" and an examination on how that institution is coping with a significant financial crisis.
  17. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Nov 6, 2013
    60
    At Berkeley works beautifully as a picture of compromised activism; viewers who summon the patience to commit to its indulgences won’t feel shortchanged, even if next year’s freshmen are.
  18. Reviewed by: Mike D'Angelo
    Nov 6, 2013
    60
    There’s a real fascination in watching the gears of this massive machine grind. Once the student protest comes to dominate the film’s second half, however, things get dicier.
  19. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Dec 5, 2013
    50
    It's dull in the precise way that life can be dull. To watch it is like sitting in on a staff meeting, listening to people talk on and on and on. Professors are used to talking nonstop, and in a few cases in At Berkeley it's rather astonishing to hear them repeating the same ideas over and over, instead of just coming to a point and stopping.
  20. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Nov 8, 2013
    50
    At Berkeley casts a nonjudgmental eye on everyone from cement layers to students discussing Thoreau to administrators complaining about budgeting. If only everything were interesting.
User Score
tbd

No user score yet- Awaiting 2 more ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 1 out of 2
  1. Nov 21, 2013
    3
    I don't know whether it's because those who reviewed this movie feel inadequate because they didn't go to college, but never have I seen a movie that is four hours in length actually seem like it was four years long, the duration of the undergraduate program there. This could EASILY have been a 90 minute infomercial, but instead they must have used every single frame and B roll that was shot. Nothing was additive about scenes of lawn mowing, bike riding, empty hallways, or people sweeping or blowing leaves... Full Review »
  2. Jan 21, 2014
    8
    Very good, classic Wiseman fly-on-the-wall documentary that covers many different aspects of UC-Berkeley. I wasn't very familiar with the instituation and now have a good feeling for it. I love that Wiseman doesn't restrict himself by making films too short, however this one is just SO long. It doesn't feel bloated, but unfortunately I just don't have the time/patience for one four-hour sitting. Overall very good film that is limited by time-based inaccessibility. Definitely a top 4 doc of the year for me (At Berkeley > The Square, Leviathan, Stories We Tell, We Steal Secrets, First Cousin, Cutie and the Boxer, Dirty Wars, The Gatekeepers, God Loves Uganda, After Tiller, Inequality for All, etc -- the only 3 I liked better: The Act of Killing, The Crash Reel and A Place at the Table) Full Review »