At Berkeley Reviews

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Emma Johnston
Total Film
September 8, 2014
Think a four-hour, narrative-free documentary in which we peep in on board meetings and lectures with unnamed bigwigs at one of America's most prestigious universities sounds boring? Well you'd be right about that, as it is.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Jamie S. Rich
December 23, 2013
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Ben Sachs
Chicago Reader
January 3, 2014
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.
Nora Lee Mandel
November 8, 2013
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/10
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
November 8, 2013
If only everything were interesting.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
December 5, 2013
A film is not just about intent. It is also an experience, and this is where "At Berkeley" becomes an iffy proposition.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
November 5, 2013
There's a fair amount of redundancy here.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Oliver Lyttelton
The Playlist
September 6, 2013'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.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Hannah McGill
The List
September 8, 2014
This is particularly useful stuff for anyone who works in higher education, and for documentary makers, but it holds rewards for anyone with the time and the stamina to take it on.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Jordan Cronk
Little White Lies
September 11, 2014
Frederick Wiseman brings his insightful and layered filmmaking to one of America's most liberal institutions.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Ashley Clark
Sight and Sound
September 13, 2013
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.
October 8, 2013
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.
Glenn Dunks
January 13, 2014
It's amazing how captivating all four hours are, and I wasn't able to take my eyes off of it.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Kate Muir
Times [UK]
September 12, 2014
Wiseman is fearless about letting people speak long and uninterrupted and the truth is no longer reduced to cheap soundbites. Instead a slow picture builds of a California institution unlike any other.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Philip Concannon
The Skinny
September 11, 2014
Hypnotically edited and intellectually stimulating, At Berkeley doesn't feel a minute too long, even at four hours.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
May 30, 2014
It's not one of Wiseman's most memorable films, nor his most subtle, nor his most timeless, but it is one of his sharpest and most resonant thematic works.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
January 2, 2014
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
November 14, 2013
"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.
Andrew Schenker
Slant Magazine
September 17, 2013
The crisis that looms over every minute of the film's four hours is the ongoing threat and increasing actuality of budget cuts.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Kelly Vance
East Bay Express
January 9, 2014
We can feel our IQ rising in the four hours we spend exploring the kaleidoscope of thought.
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