• R, 2 hr. 6 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    John Singleton
    In Theaters:
    Jun 1, 1994 Wide
    On DVD:
    Jul 3, 2001
  • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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Higher Learning Reviews

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The film lapses into polarized melodrama but it's a handsome piece, displaying a fair understanding of our desperate need to belong.

Full Review Source: Film4

July 25, 2010

TV Guide's Movie Guide

Singleton gets points for exposing the hypocrisy of "politically correct" institutions, but stilted dialogue and cardboard characterizations undermine the message.

Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide | Original Score: 3/4

July 25, 2010
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite some likable performances (Epps is especially winning), the drama in Higher Learning is constricted, hemmed in by Singleton's compulsion to view his characters as walking paradigms of racial and sexual politics.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: C

July 6, 2010
Todd McCarthy
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Higher Learning has a great many things on its mind, which immediately places it in a rather exclusive category of American films these days.

Full Review Source: Variety

October 18, 2008
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A stylish, intelligent film-maker, Singleton interweaves the threads of his demographic tapestry with assurance, passion and a welcome awareness of the complexities of the college community's contradictory impulses towards integration and separatism.

Full Review Source: Time Out

February 9, 2006
Brad Laidman
Film Threat

There's some nice ideas and realistically felt characters here.

Full Review Source: Film Threat | Original Score: 4/5

December 6, 2005
Luke Y. Thompson
New Times

For anyone who's been to USC, it's a pretty hilarious parody of life there. If you take it as presented, however, it's over-dramatic and unbelievable.

| Original Score: 3/5

November 3, 2005
Clint Morris

Another tour-de-force for Singleton

| Original Score: 3/5

March 23, 2005
Blake Davis
KFOR Channel 4 News

John Singleton at his most pretentious and preachy.

| Original Score: 2/5

January 27, 2004
David Nusair
Reel Film Reviews

...John Singleton's third (and best) film.

Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews | Original Score: 3.5/4

August 1, 2003
James Sanford
Kalamazoo Gazette

Flawed but often arresting drama

| Original Score: 3/5

June 4, 2003
Janet Maslin
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Everyone here, from beer-swilling white fraternity boys to rap-loving black students harassed by the campus police, can be judged at face value. Everyone is exactly what he or she seems.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 2/4

May 20, 2003
Alex Sandell
Juicy Cerebellum

Almost unwatchable.

| Original Score: 0/5

March 4, 2003
Michael Dequina

A flawed endeavor... but still an entertaining and thought-provoking film.

| Original Score: 3/4

May 25, 2002
Scott Weinberg
Apollo Guide

Singleton deserves praise for shining the spotlight on some of today's biggest social issues; it's just unfortunate that the laws of cinema ultimately blunt some of his messages.

Full Review Source: Apollo Guide | Original Score: 68/100

September 10, 2001
Pete Croatto

The plot would all mean something if Singleton offered his characters any engaging conflicts--they all seem recycled from movies of the week.

Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com | Original Score: 2/5

June 12, 2001
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Higher Learning is often clichéd, unfocused and didactic. But Singleton has a goal most of his contemporaries have given up on: He wants to make a movie that makes a difference.

May 12, 2001
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Presenting problems is not the same as dramatizing them successfully, and as strong as his message is, Singleton has not found the best way to deliver it.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times

February 13, 2001
Scott Renshaw

It's an ambitious but unfocused effort which is admirable for its balanced perspective but leaves critical characters as mere representations of the stereotypes it seems to be challenging.

Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews | Original Score: 5/10

January 1, 2000
David Armstrong
San Francisco Examiner

Energetic, uneven but engaging.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Examiner

January 1, 2000
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