Brooklyn Castle - Rotten Tomatoes

Brooklyn Castle (2012)

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Critic Consensus: Brooklyn Castle is a warm, engaging, and even uplifting documentary about chess-playing whiz kids.


Movie Info

Brooklyn Castle is the remarkable and improbable true story of I.S. 318 in Brooklyn. The school, where 65% of students live below the federal poverty level, has the highest ranked junior high chess team in the nation. The heart of the film is the engaging young students who populate the team: Rochelle, who has the goal of becoming the first female African-American chess master; Pobo, the team's charismatic leader; Justus, an entering student who must manage the high expectations that come with … More

Rating: PG (for some language)
Genre: Documentary , Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 4, 2013
Box Office: $0.2M
Runtime:
Producers Distribution Agency - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Brooklyn Castle

All Critics (55) | Top Critics (26)

Brooklyn Castle does a superb job of celebrating the triumph while reinforcing the relentless vigilance it requires from everyone involved.

Full Review… | October 7, 2013
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Brooklyn Castle is inspiring stuff that grabs you by the throat and will leave you cheering - quietly of course. No shouting in a chess match.

Full Review… | March 28, 2013
Toronto Star
Top Critic

There's a general spirit of triumph and perseverance to "Brooklyn Castle" that's inevitably uplifting.

Full Review… | March 1, 2013
Detroit News
Top Critic

"Brooklyn Castle" easily checkmates your inner cynic.

Full Review… | November 15, 2012
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Katie Dellamaggiore's lively and affecting documentary introduces us to a cast of characters that's very winning (in both senses of the word).

Full Review… | November 15, 2012
Boston Globe
Top Critic

It's not To Sir, With Love: It's fierce ambition, the channeling of emotion, and hours of drilling.

Full Review… | November 14, 2012
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Brooklyn Castle

One one level, "Brooklyn Castle" is an occasionally suspenseful documentary that also makes unfortunate use of stop motion effects about the dynasty of championships won by the chess teams at I.S. 318 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. That winning streak continues even though players like Rochelle graduate and seek to continue their study of the game at a higher level, because new players like Justus enter the school, even though he has to travel all the way from the Bronx on a daily basis.

On a much wider and more important level, "Brooklyn Castle" makes a great case for why such extracurricular activities are important, and not just because they might keep kids off the street. What this extremely successful program also does is allow the students to travel outside New York City for tournaments, while chess exercises their brains and is an activity that prizes sportmanship.(I love the handshake before and after matches, by the way.) So while they think six moves ahead in the game, they also become prepared to do so in real life, as the documentary also provides insight into the structure of the New York City school system.

All of which is threatened is by severe budget cuts after the 2008 recession. As one student says, the last thing that should be cut from any budget is education.

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Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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