• Studio:
  • Release Date: Jun 13, 2014
Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Reviewed by: David Ehrlich
    Jun 12, 2014
    83
    Rossi’s scathing (yet seemingly fair) documentary doesn’t just illustrate the institutional ironies of modern education. It also strives to understand why tuition is at an all-time high when knowledge is practically free.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jun 12, 2014
    80
    Endlessly stimulating and provoking, Ivory Tower presents a solid overview of an urgent problem that some claim is about to implode and others believe can be worked through with the intelligent application of fresh ideas.
  3. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jun 12, 2014
    80
    You feel for the potential Wesleyan parent who asks an administrator if his daughter is going to have to move home after graduating: His question is met with an uneasy pause. Crucial stuff.
  4. Reviewed by: Stephanie Merry
    Jun 19, 2014
    75
    Ivory Tower covers a lot of ground, and sometimes the focus feels diffuse.
  5. Reviewed by: Leba Hertz
    Jun 19, 2014
    75
    Most interesting, to me, is what happened at New York City's Cooper Union, which has charged no tuition since its founding in 1859. Due in part to mismanagement of funds, the school has announced it will start charging tuition, prompting the students to form their own Occupy Movement. This alone deserves a 90-minute documentary.
  6. Reviewed by: Kimber Myers
    Jun 16, 2014
    75
    Ivory Tower is compelling viewing, particularly if you feel close to the crisis.
  7. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jun 13, 2014
    75
    Rossi investigates the increasing use of massive open online courses and other flexible programs and talks to such education experts as Columbia professor Andrew Delbanco.
  8. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jul 11, 2014
    70
    It's wider than it is deep, but Andrew Rossi's documentary is a good primer on an issue that, in varying degrees, affects almost everyone.
  9. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Jun 16, 2014
    70
    Although stronger on breadth than focus, it’s an appropriately stimulating take on a far-from-sustainable system.
  10. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Jun 12, 2014
    70
    This film throws an enormous amount of information at us both in terms of original interviews and archival footage from more than 100 sources, but it's too sophisticated to suggest that any one-size-fits-all solution is lurking just over the horizon.
  11. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jun 26, 2014
    63
    Chartered to provide both sides of every debate, CNN has positioned itself as the middle ground for discussions of current events. But without a knowledgeable teacher (or filmmaker) to lead such discussions into new territory, they devolve into noisy bull sessions.
  12. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jun 19, 2014
    63
    Rossi gives us a survey course when what we need is a seminar; the movie is a useful “What’s Wrong With College 101” but the advanced study remains to be done.
  13. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Jun 13, 2014
    63
    There’s enough interesting, raw material in Ivory Tower to consider but one wishes it was shaped into something more cohesive and pointed in its attack and approach.
  14. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Jun 10, 2014
    63
    Andrew Rossi’s documentary is a bit scatter shot in its approach.
  15. Reviewed by: Nick McCarthy
    Jun 10, 2014
    63
    The documentary is more interested in covering all its bases than making sure it fully has its foot on each base.
  16. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jun 12, 2014
    60
    This insightful doc from director Andrew Rossi addresses topics that get more polarizing each year: the high cost of college, the factors that dictate who’s educated in this country and the culture that surrounds those decisions.
  17. Reviewed by: Daphne Howland
    Jun 10, 2014
    60
    What the film does accomplish is making you think, especially about how universities are spending their ever-increasing tuition on top-notch campus amenities and their own disastrous loans, and how state governments and federal agencies are similarly passing off their education cuts onto the young people who they expect to one day run the economy and society.
  18. Reviewed by: Neil Genzlinger
    Jun 12, 2014
    50
    Ivory Tower, a documentary about soaring costs and other problems confronting higher education, can’t seem to decide what points it wants to make and ends up making none.
  19. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Jun 12, 2014
    50
    Ivory Tower asks a lot of provocative, important questions, but it’s decidedly short on answers, and even shorter on satisfying or convincing answers.
User Score
tbd

No user score yet- Awaiting 2 more ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Jun 30, 2014
    7
    An engaging look at the troubling state of American higher education, how we got here and how we might get out of it. Despite the absence of ready-made answers and a tendency to keep from going for the jugular as much as it could (or should) have, the film nevertheless gives us pause to assess where we're at, what we want out of our educational system and some clues on how to fix it. Full Review »