Brooklyn Castle - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Brooklyn Castle Reviews

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½ May 7, 2016
"Brooklyn Castle" is a social commentary on school budget cuts that is disguised as a documentary about chess. The story follows five students from Intermediate School 318, the inner-city Brooklyn public school and unlikely home of the country's most successful middle school chess program. This chess team helps its diverse student population master the game through dedicated educators and administrative support. The only problem is that, rather than helping the audience to create an emotional connection to the kids, the movie depresses us with today's grim state of education. I would have rather celebrated the success stories of these exceptional students instead of being reminded of school budget cuts and suffering extracurricular programs. "Brooklyn Castle" could have been an amazing, uplifting film but the end result is another average, politically-influenced documentary.
½ November 12, 2015
Uplifting without ever needing to stoop to fake emotionalism. It's a wholly fascinating and frankly realistic look at chess and its effect on kids growing up.

The competitive nature of the game really shines through.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
January 4, 2015
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.
½ September 29, 2014
Feel good documentary. What is not to like?
August 14, 2014
Feel good movie of the year!
½ July 27, 2014
There was too much focus on the budget cuts which took away from the stories of the kids and the chess.
June 2, 2014
Or the Nerds Shall Inherit The Earth...

Such an inspiring and interesting story about a chess club team from a Jr High School in Brooklyn. There are so many stories here to tell, and they're all so interesting that the film never feels like its dragging. It makes a good case for better funding for schools without explicitly making the case. You care so much about these students and see how chess has helped them in their lives to be more confident and have better problem solving skills that you want every kid to have that. You don't worry about the politics of the issues or how the problem has to be fixed, you just want it fixed. It's a really wonderful film about how hope can change a community.
½ April 8, 2014
This movie was great. I'm not that emotional and I teared up in a few places. You'll be inspired, definitely.The best message you can learn from it is the lesson that hard works & atitude matter more than "talent" or aptitude. Resiliency and perseverance go a long way. If we put in half the effort that these students and teacher put in, America's gonna be alright
½ February 3, 2014
the story is hopeful, but with little conflicts, the doco feels more like a home video than anything else
January 17, 2014
Really good documentary about kids playing chess. Gives a real life portrayal of how children get through adversity and climbing the eco-stratoshphiric ladder from lower class to trying to get to a different level with the tool of chess.
½ January 13, 2014
Managing to structure a narrative and an image of a flailing education system in America, Brooklyn Castle is an endlessly charming, character-driven film that does what most docs cannot: tap into the soul.
*3/4*
½ January 7, 2014
El ajedrez es un juego que requiere técnica, pero más que nada concentración, y por eso es que es una de las actividades que deberían enseñarse en todos los colegios, ya que es una distracción para no caer en malos hábitos. Eso es lo que hizo el colegio I.S. 318 de Brooklyn, donde la mayoría de los estudiantes viven en pobreza, pero han logrado ser el mejor equipo de ajedrez de secundaria de el país. Este documental nos presenta a los jugadores más destacados del equipo, que son adolescentes corrientes, pero a través de su dedicación han llegado a ser prodigios de este juego, y lo más impresionante de todo, es que gracias al ajedrez es que han podido tener las oportunidades que tienen, la cuales son escasas para personas de sus niveles económicos. Es inspirador ver este documental y ver como algo tan sencillo como enseñar ajedrez puede llegar a ser tan beneficioso y cambiar tantas vidas a mejor. Los profesores que son una parte integral de la enseñanza son increíbles, a poner toda esa pasión y consejos a la disposición de sus alumnos.
January 7, 2014
always like inspirational movies.
January 1, 2014
What a great movie, Always good to see kids accomplish so much when they come from a rough neighborhood.
December 23, 2013
Really good documentary. Some of the people in it were kinda funky but it was all real unscripted so that's cool.
December 15, 2013
After all the depressing movies I have watched recently, Brooklyn Castle is a welcome change of pace. Insightful, fast paced, and completely heart felt. Give this movie a watch, its a pretty amazing story!
November 13, 2013
If this documentary doesn't inspire you, you probably don't have a soul. The students of I.S.318 remind me why I wanted to teach in the inner city. They denounce the cynicism I have developed about the difference I can make, even though the conditions are so unfavorable. I want you, yes you, to watch it - today!
October 19, 2013
Inspirational!! These young Bobby Fischers prove that the American dream, at least in the game of chess, is never too far away. Made me smile!! (but c'mon Alexis, did you really turn down Stuy in favor of Edward Murrow ??? Boo!!! :)
October 18, 2013
a fantastic documentary about the highest ranked middle school chess team in the US.
the power of passion...
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