Metascore
59

Mixed or average reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. 75
    An inspiring, educational, highly enjoyable documentary.
  2. Reviewed by: Loren King
    Feb 27, 2014
    75
    If this blend of community service, innovative teaching, and creative approach to design and construction sounds idealistic, the film’s final scenes deliver enough stress and sweat to show that idealism takes hard work, too.
  3. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Feb 27, 2014
    75
    Director Patrick Creadon, who in 2006 made the entertaining "Wordplay," about crossword fanatics, probably errs on the side of advocacy here. But give him credit for acknowledging that idealistic endeavors don't always pay off.
  4. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Feb 20, 2014
    75
    A bracing, quietly exhilarating documentary.
  5. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    Jan 10, 2014
    75
    Less a polemic than a portrait, If You Build It celebrates the flinty spirit that spurs problem solving and creativity (sometimes at the same time) with people not dedicated to a cause, but to people.
  6. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    Jan 23, 2014
    70
    The film proves not only a stirring look at education's potential to rally and invigorate but also a vital snapshot of contemporary rural America.
  7. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Jan 9, 2014
    60
    Creadon's doc benefits substantially from these kids, resulting in a film with modest commercial appeal that should have a healthy video afterlife with activism-minded students in college and graduate programs.
  8. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jan 9, 2014
    60
    This honest and engrossing film shows how ingenuity and spark can restore excitement in education. That goal needs every helping hand it can get.
  9. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Jan 8, 2014
    60
    Unfortunately, as with so many social-survey documentaries, the film’s macro view comes at the expense of any microcosmic depth.
  10. Reviewed by: Andrew Frisicano
    Jan 8, 2014
    60
    Credit goes to Creadon for venturing beyond the classroom to look at how the teachers and students manage small victories despite limited resources.
  11. Reviewed by: Geoff Berkshire
    Jan 9, 2014
    50
    A bittersweet ending offers both victory and defeat, but closes on a note of hard-won optimism.
  12. Reviewed by: Daphne Howland
    Jan 7, 2014
    50
    Creadon unveils his story in a haphazard, backwards-unfolding way.
  13. Reviewed by: Wes Greene
    Jan 7, 2014
    50
    It isn't until the rushed conclusion when director Patrick Creadon shows the possibilities of what the documentary could have been.
  14. Reviewed by: Nicolas Rapold
    Jan 9, 2014
    40
    The movie’s biggest weakness comes with its tendency to film people telling us what’s going on rather than having us observe.

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