Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 10
  2. Negative: 1 out of 10
  1. 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.
  2. This uplifting documentary breaks no new ground stylistically, but the story it tells is urgent and compelling.
  3. 75
    Impressive, although not quite the film it could have been. It asks few hard questions.
  4. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    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.
  5. 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.
  6. Reviewed by: Ruth McCann
    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.
  7. For the film to be truer to the school’s reputation, it would have had to dig a little deeper.
  8. The Providence Effect" is flawed, but it's still a moving film.
  9. 38
    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.

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