A teaching lesson in the thoughtful strengths and the frustrating weaknesses of Wiseman's fly-on-the-wall, observational-over-time technique of documentary filmmaking.
| Original Score: 5/10
If only everything were interesting.
| Original Score: 2/4
A film is not just about intent. It is also an experience, and this is where "At Berkeley" becomes an iffy proposition.
...it's deeply heartwarming stuff. And that's why, after four hours, you wouldn't cut a frame-you need all this material to form this microcosm of America.
| Original Score: A
Despite its intimidating length, Wiseman's structure - created entirely in the edit - fosters a set of hypnotic internal rhythms, allowing the viewer space to make their own thematic connections.
A four-hour long documentary about higher education certainly isn't going to arouse everyone's interest, but this is the real deal: insightful, revealing and comprehensive.
"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.
The crisis that looms over every minute of the film's four hours is the ongoing threat and increasing actuality of budget cuts.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
"At Berkeley" transcends its subject to get at something ineffable and yet so universal about existence, its promise, mystery, and drudgery all wonderfully mixed together.
Footage of road-paving construction subtly mirrors Wiseman's depiction of the way in which the university constantly reinvents and renews itself - logistically, politically, intellectually - through constant, engaged dialogue and debate.
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.
| Original Score: B
The film may be uncommonly long, but it dances by playfully... feels almost like a series of short films, all of them wonderful little exercises in eavesdropping.
| Original Score: 9/10
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.
An impressive and wide-ranging documentary by Frederick Wiseman looking at the daily happenings at a major American university.
| Original Score: 3.8/5
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.
| Original Score: B+
"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.
Mr. Wiseman has made his share of grim documentaries in which people are processed and oppressed by bureaucracy. "At Berkeley" is not one.
If you're willing to go where Wiseman takes you, and on his terms, it might feel like a late-career near-masterpiece.
I wouldn't lose a minute of At Berkeley. If anything, it made me wish Wiseman had a weekly TV show that monitored the daily life of my alma mater.
At Berkeley, Wiseman's latest effort, makes its case as subtly as ever, to the point where the film could conceivably function as a Rorschach test.
| Original Score: 3/5