The Providence Effect Reviews

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Joseph Jon Lanthier
Slant Magazine
February 28, 2015
Rollin Binzer's tribute only underscores the mind-bogglingly hazardous crapshoot we take when entrusting our children to local classrooms anywhere in the U.S.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Kam Williams
NewsBlaze
February 24, 2010
A moving bio-pic about an unsung hero with a winning education formula which ought to be replicated in inner cities all across the country.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Peter Hartlaub
San Francisco Chronicle
October 16, 2009
The subjects seem to be guiding the director through the movie, which offers no objectivity and avoids obvious questions. It's among the best films in history within its genre, but that genre is infomercial.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Fr. Chris Carpenter
Movie Dearest
October 2, 2009
Objective viewers may criticize the filmmakers' tendency to view their subject through rose-colored glasses. Still, the subject is fascinating.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Andrea Gronvall
Chicago Reader
October 2, 2009
This uplifting documentary breaks no new ground stylistically, but the story it tells is urgent and compelling.
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
October 1, 2009
Adams is well worth a movie, and this one's engaging as far as it goes. But for the film to be truer to the school's reputation, it would have had to dig a little deeper.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Avi Offer
NYC Movie Guru
September 26, 2009
Marginally compelling and well-edited while deficient when it comes to insight and provocativeness. You'll find a lot of potatoes here, but not enough meat.
Full Review | Original Score: 5.5/10
Top Critic
V.A. Musetto
New York Post
September 25, 2009
Adams and the school's students and teachers deserve an A-plus, although the film rates a much lower grade. It unfolds lifelessly, as Binzer parades a contingent of talking heads before the camera in what could pass for an infomercial.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Sonny Bunch
Washington Times
September 25, 2009
The Providence Effect comes off as more a gauzy 90-minute infomercial for the school than a real examination of its methods and strategies for success.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Jeannette Catsoulis
New York Times
September 25, 2009
More an infomercial than a movie, The Providence Effect is, at best, a well-earned tribute to one manā(TM)s unwavering vision.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
John P. McCarthy
Boxoffice Magazine
September 24, 2009
Providence-St. Mel's achievements are truly laudable, but its inspirational lessons get watered down by the uncritical approach taken by director/producer Rollin Binzer.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Matt Pais
Metromix.com
September 24, 2009
Shows the effect of teachers who care and students groomed to believe in themselves. It's also remarkably reassuring to see education at work and believe, yes, it can be done.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
September 24, 2009
The Providence Effect is impressive, although not quite the film it could have been.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Ernest Hardy
Village Voice
September 23, 2009
The film never completely shakes the feel of being more an advertisement than a documentary, but once it settles into a concrete illustration of Adams's philosophy, it becomes riveting.
Top Critic
S. James Snyder
Time Out
September 23, 2009
Swooning but shallow, this doc plays like a promotional commercial for Providence St. Mel, a private school on Chicago's impoverished West Side that sends 100 percent of its graduates on to college.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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