"At Berkeley" is an epic watch, but you certainly come out of there feeling like you've learned a lot.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
At Berkeley earns credit for documenting a distinctly articulate community.
| Original Score: 3/4
It's amazing how captivating all four hours are, and I wasn't able to take my eyes off of it.
| Original Score: A-
We can feel our IQ rising in the four hours we spend exploring the kaleidoscope of thought.
The film contains numerous scenes showing higher education at its best.. But these moments are gradually overwhelmed by scenes of administrators dealing with an ongoing budget crisisdealing with an ongoing budget crisis.
The fragility of public education looms in the background of every scene, but, as always, Wiseman proves a wizard at shutting up and listening and learning.
Creates interesting juxtapositions between the differing concerns and pursuits of the faculty and student body, but your butt and your brain may find the excessive runtime equally punishing.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
As much as the film observes its diverse participants, it persistently poses smart questions and provocative metaphors through editing.
| Original Score: 10/10
A film is not just about intent. It is also an experience, and this is where "At Berkeley" becomes an iffy proposition.
| Original Score: 2/4
Anyone who cares about documentary filmmaking, or about the state of public higher education, will find themselves quietly dazzled by the picture Wiseman paints here, in small dabs.
The observations coalesce into a cogent whole, providing insights that are never overtly stated.
The patient viewer will come away from it understanding the breadth and importance of what such an academic enterprise does.
| Original Score: B+
No other filmed portrait of higher education matches this one for hard-nosed insight, comprehensiveness, sympathy, and hope.
"At Berkeley" is a must for educators facing the same problems as UCB but only hardcore film buffs, especially documentary fans, would consider taking four-hours of their time to see it.
| Original Score: B
One of the great things about the 83 year-old Frederick Wiseman is that he never approaches a subject like the blind men and the elephant - the director presents us with the whole mammal.
I was going to make a joke about how, after four hours of At Berkeley, I deserved my own honorary degree. But instead of book learning, this movie is more about life learning.
With more space than usual - some of his films run only 80-some minutes, others in the 2 1/2 hour range - [Frederick] Wiseman has time to play more with what he's saying.
| Original Score: 4/5
"At Berkeley" is the 38th in Mr. Wiseman's series of films about contemporary institutions; as always, he finds symbolic resonance in seemingly random observations.
If you're willing to go where Wiseman takes you, and on his terms, it might feel like a late-career near-masterpiece.
Admittedly a long haul, though it never bores, always invested in teaching dynamics, student concerns, and bureaucratic hand-wringing, triumphantly providing a you-are-there viewing experience.