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Paper Clips (2004)



Average Rating: 6.3/10
Reviews Counted: 53
Fresh: 38 | Rotten: 15

A touching, though somewhat flat, documentary that follows a homogenous class of white Protestant eighth graders as they learn the importance of tolerance by erecting a monument to the 6 million victims of the Holocaust.


Average Rating: 6.8/10
Critic Reviews: 19
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 3

A touching, though somewhat flat, documentary that follows a homogenous class of white Protestant eighth graders as they learn the importance of tolerance by erecting a monument to the 6 million victims of the Holocaust.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 2,684

My Rating

Movie Info

Directed by Joe Fab and Elliot Berlin, this documentary chronicles a rural Tennessee middle school's unique class project: finding a meaningful way to honor Holocaust victims. Brought up in a heavily fundamentalist Christian environment, most of the students had never seen, let alone spoken with, a member of the Jewish faith; nonetheless, the children of Whitwell found a poignant method of honoring the slain. Using individual paper clips to represent each life lost in the Holocaust, the students


Documentary, Special Interest


Joe Fab

Mar 7, 2006


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All Critics (59) | Top Critics (22) | Fresh (38) | Rotten (15) | DVD (2)

You have to be a pretty cynical not to be a little moved.

May 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a remarkable story, and well worth seeing, particularly for its handful of genuinely affecting moments.

March 25, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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What makes Paper Clips so powerful and moving is the way everyone in the film seems affected by the Whitwell project. The students change. The teachers change. The townspeople change.

March 4, 2005 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Not a sophisticated or very challenging film, nor should it be. It is straightforward, heartfelt and genuine.

February 25, 2005 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Symbolism is hard to swallow, and it's near impossible to relate to these paper clips as souls, especially when they are talked about in terms of collecting and counting and displaying.

February 24, 2005 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The project is chronicled eloquently in Paper Clips, a documentary about how a few kids can make a difference, one paper clip at a time.

February 17, 2005 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Docu is the best introduction to the Holocaust for tweens.

December 31, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Interesting and frequently moving documentary but it misses several opportunities to widen the scope and make some important points.

October 14, 2006 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

the message attached is genuine and worth listening to

March 23, 2006 Full Review Source:

Who knew a movie that seeks to remind us of one of the greatest horrors in human history could be so unintentionally hilarious?

October 27, 2005 Full Review Source:

Paper Clips is a nice social interest project, but not much of a documentary.

October 25, 2005 Full Review

For the documentary to shift credit to the paper-clip project as a reason for receiving the speakers is tantamount to fraud.

June 1, 2005 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

Documentaries do not rise or fall on their production values ...

May 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

This is a modest film with a big heart that leaves you thinking that Anne Frank got it right: Basically people are good.

May 13, 2005 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

The film is constructed simply, even amateurishly, but the power of what's being done comes through loud and clear. The material is far better than the movie.

May 11, 2005 Full Review Source:

It would be easier to forgive first-timers Elliot Berlin and Joe Fab for their offenses against good documentary filmmaking if they weren't messing up such sure-fire material.

May 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

There's no denying the iron grip of the movie's message.

May 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Certainly not the tribute these kids and adults deserve.

May 6, 2005
Salt Lake Tribune

Somebody forgot to tell Elliot Berlin and Joe Fab that a noble cause does not a movie make.

May 5, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

Paper Clips is two movies: the movie its makers think it is, and the movie it actually is. One of them is pretty good.

May 5, 2005 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

[A] heartfelt, if rather repetitive, documentary.

April 29, 2005 Full Review Source: Charlotte Observer
Charlotte Observer

Segments shot in hindsight pale in comparison to the actual, effective, and emotional recollections of survivors who come to Whitwell to share their past with the school.

April 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Flipside Movie Emporium
Flipside Movie Emporium

The Tennessee middle school's story is worth hearing, but rather than a feature-length documentary, it's best suited as a short TV newsmagazine package.

April 26, 2005 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

You will never look at the familiar little fasteners the same way again. This is an incredible 87 minutes in a movie theater on several levels.

April 26, 2005

Affectingly documents an example of caring, concerned students and the inspiring educators who lead them.

April 8, 2005 Full Review Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Audience Reviews for Paper Clips

Paper clips are a documentary about a schools project to represent all the people who died in the Holocaust. The kids at this school only know people from one race white and they were all christens. They have never seen other races or never met a Jew before. They got an authentic German rail car to put the chain of millions of paper chips in. I
Really moving.
Makes people see the world in different way.
I was shock to see how little as a paper chip and how one group of people was able to make a big lasting impact on today's world.
An eye opener.
Slow at times.
It might not be for everyone.
If u want a moving documentary you should give this a try.
July 10, 2011
erika bruhns

Super Reviewer

Simple story, too saccharine for my taste
August 25, 2009
Lesley N

Super Reviewer

Paper Clips is an ordinary documentary chronicling the extraordinary efforts of a small Southern town in Tennessee. Though stylistically it is not impressive, the story is moving enough to keep the viewer's attention.
January 13, 2009

Super Reviewer

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