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Ivory Tower Image
Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: As tuition rates spiral beyond reach and student loan debt passes $1 trillion (more than credit card debt), Ivory Tower asks: Is college worth the cost? From the halls of Harvard, to public colleges in financial crisis, to Silicon Valley, filmmaker Andrew Rossi assembles an urgent portrait of a great American institution at the breaking point. Collapse
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: 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 63
    Andrew Rossi’s documentary is a bit scatter shot in its approach.
  7. 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.

See all 19 Critic Reviews

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. Expand