Ex Libris: New York Public Library (2017)


Critic Consensus: Ex Libris: The New York Public Library adds another remarkable chapter to documentarian Frederick Wiseman's career-long quest for observational excellence.


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Movie Info

In this, the 42nd documentary by Frederick Wiseman (recipient of an Honorary Oscar in 2016), the legendary filmmaker brings his incisive vision behind the scenes of one of the world's greatest institutions of learning, capturing the vast programmatic scope of NYC's library system. The NYPL is blessed with uniformly passionate staff and deeply devoted, appreciative bibliophiles and beneficiaries across its 92 branches. The film reveals a venerable place of welcome, cultural exchange, and intellectual creativity.


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Critic Reviews for Ex Libris: New York Public Library

All Critics (63) | Top Critics (20)

Three-hours-plus is an absurd amount of time to sit through the visual equivalent of thumbing through the NYPL's program guide.

Oct 20, 2017 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

Ultimately Ex Libris demonstrates that libraries are about people, and what gives the film its great and accumulating force is that people are infinitely complex.

Oct 13, 2017 | Rating: A | Full Review…

It's fascinating, if overlong. "Ex Libris" is the kind of film that makes you realize what wonders we too often take for granted, and how much work and passion go into such wonders.

Oct 6, 2017 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
Detroit News
Top Critic

Ex Libris proves that the idea of the library is still going strong, though the idea of "the public" may be another matter.

Oct 5, 2017 | Full Review…

As with all of Wiseman's films, the whole is so very much greater than the sum of its parts.

Oct 4, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Maybe one temple of learning will inspire a visit to another: see the movie, then pop into your local biblioteca.

Sep 28, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

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