The Great Debaters - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Great Debaters Reviews

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Heather Huntington
September 8, 2008
Washington directed as well as starred, and it is clear he has no trouble wearing both hats at once
Full Review | Original Score: 7/10
Austin Kennedy
Sin Magazine
August 22, 2008
This is a wonderfully acted and directed movie, that has something important to say
Full Review| Original Score: 3.5/4
Kevin McCarthy
June 1, 2008
I was having mediocre day and I walked out of the movie totally pumped up and ready for the rest of the day, even though it was 10pm at night.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Prairie Miller
May 2, 2008
There's a real organic sense in the film of how young minds can be nurtured and energized way beyond sex, sports and slacker attitude, into caring and evolving kid works-in-progress. And how debating can be pretty cool too, who knew?
Robert Roten
Laramie Movie Scope
April 10, 2008
The acting is great and care is taken to develop these characters into people we can root for.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Matt Kelemen
Las Vegas CityLife
March 17, 2008
Enough fictional liberties were taken with The Great Debaters to make it fit neatly on the inspirational genre shelf, but it's grounded in enough reality to excuse Eisle's we-shall-overcome contrivances
Jeff Bayer
The Scorecard Review
March 4, 2008
Showcasing the history is done with care and purpose, but I wanted more. I wanted more time between Washington and Forest Whitaker. I wanted more...
Full Review | Original Score: 7/10
Jeffrey Westhoff
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
February 15, 2008
Although we instinctively should be rooting for these characters, Eisele bends the rules of academic debate to make sure the outcome is never in doubt.
Full Review| Original Score: 2.5/4
Gina Carbone
Seacoast Newspapers (NH/Maine)
February 12, 2008
Nate Parker may end up the next Denzel Washington. He has the charm and emotional punch. Put him in more things.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Linda Cook
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
February 9, 2008
Sometimes a movie is so literate, so positive and reveals such an intriguing piece of history that it's like a two-hour classroom session.
Full Review| Original Score: 4/4
Christian Toto
Washington Times
February 3, 2008
Denzel delivers both in front of and behind the camera with The Great Debaters.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Rob Humanick
Projection Booth
January 31, 2008
As is typical of such fare, the primary goals are commendable for their well-intentioned earnestness, but zero points for such gluttonous condescension.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Top Critic
Amy Nicholson
I.E. Weekly
January 29, 2008
Despite its transparent manipulations, the film is more decent than it deserves to be, particularly when the kids step up to the podium and get passionate
Full Review | Original Score: C
Bruce Bennett
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
January 26, 2008
With the help of a great screenplay and tremendous acting, this film ... soars above the typical minority/underdog formula to inspire more than it manipulates.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Mark Palermo
Coast (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
January 21, 2008
The Great Debaters handles conventions well, making an important piece of history affecting and resonant.
Full Review
Cynthia Fuchs
January 17, 2008
It's the sort of tradeoff Oprah makes daily, finding ways to represent those histories and experiences that are otherwise unrepresented%u2014ways that will appeal to a broad base and so, somehow, make differences.
Lori Hoffman
Atlantic City Weekly
January 10, 2008
. . . an engaging look at a time and place when black men and women had to fight for dignity and respect against overwhelming forces
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Diana Saenger
January 7, 2008
The Great Debaters is an amazing story, but it's the sensational direction and terrific cast that make the theme resonant.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Cole Smithey
January 5, 2008
For all of its hermetic dramatic license, "The Great Debators" hits its emotional marks with help from Forest Whitaker and a talented ensemble cast that includes Nate Parker, Jurnee Smollett, and newcomer Denzel Whitaker.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Wilson Morales
January 5, 2008
Not only is this a feel good story, but it's moving and inspirational for all.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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