The Great Debaters Reviews

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November 17, 2011
October 18, 2008
February 15, 2008
Although we instinctively should be rooting for these characters, Eisele bends the rules of academic debate to make sure the outcome is never in doubt.
January 31, 2008
As is typical of such fare, the primary goals are commendable for their well-intentioned earnestness, but zero points for such gluttonous condescension.
January 29, 2008
Despite its transparent manipulations, the film is more decent than it deserves to be, particularly when the kids step up to the podium and get passionate
December 27, 2007
A movie about ideas that's a bit too timid to actually be about them.
December 26, 2007
The Great Debaters plays it way too safe, when life for the real people who inspired it was anything but.
December 26, 2007
It's yet one more of those average biographically based films that comes across as glossy, feel-good moviemaking rather than capturing the texture and fabric of a slice of history.
December 26, 2007
Polished, pokey and cloyingly formulaic.
December 26, 2007
It's ultimately less a movie than a high-gloss civics lesson.
December 26, 2007
At the end of the film, we learn that many world-changing ideas originated in the Washington character's classrooms, so there are obviously great stories to tell. If only somebody could figure out how to tell them.
December 26, 2007
Resolved: No more movies can have inspiring, self-sacrificing teachers standing on desks.
December 26, 2007
For a movie about a debate team -- one with the word 'debaters' in the title, no less -- Denzel Washington's second effort as a director doesn't have that much interest in what a debate looks and sounds like.
December 26, 2007
The Great Debaters keeps things on the surface and pushes the obvious buttons, hoping you won't notice its distinct lack of depth.
December 26, 2007
The Great Debaters has value, to be sure, especially for teenage viewers. But serious moviegoers, especially those attracted by the movie's aggressive Oscar campaign, will likely find the package gorgeously wrapped but intellectually empty.
December 26, 2007
This fact-based drama is well-intentioned but gets a little bogged down in the details.
December 26, 2007
There's an air of extreme predictability and inevitability in the script.
December 26, 2007
All of this unfolds with such predictability, the title might as well be The Great Foregone Conclusion.
December 24, 2007
The phrase "inspired by" may buy a filmmaker creative leeway, but it's at the cost of credibility with an audience.
December 24, 2007
When The Great Debaters ends, expect to be uplifted despite the inherent schmaltz. Think about the film for any length of time afterwards, and the wheels of its storytelling undeniably begin to deflate.
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