Ivory Tower


Ivory Tower

Critics Consensus

Although Ivory Tower makes it clear that there isn't enough room in a 90-minute film to tackle spiraling student loan debt, it also serves as a compelling call for deeper investigation.



Reviews Counted: 52

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Average Rating: 3.8/5

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Movie Info

As tuition rates spiral beyond reach and student loan debt passes $1 trillion (more than credit card debt), IVORY TOWER asks: Is college worth the cost? From the halls of Harvard, to public colleges in financial crisis, to Silicon Valley, filmmaker Andrew Rossi (PAGE ONE: INSIDE THE NEW YORK TIMES) assembles an urgent portrait of a great American institution at the breaking point. Through interviews profiled at Arizona State, Cooper Union, and Sebastian Thrun's Udacity-among several others-IVORY TOWER reveals how colleges in the United States, long regarded as leaders in higher education, came to embrace a business model that often promotes expansion over quality learning. Along the way we also find unique programs, from Stanford to the free desert school Deep Springs to the historically black all women's college Spelman, where the potential for life-changing college experiences endure. (C) Samuel Goldwyn

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Critic Reviews for Ivory Tower

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (17)

  • What makes "Ivory Tower" interesting is how it looks at not just the debt but the causes behind it, and other problems besetting higher education.

    Jul 10, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • A groaning table of food for thought - almost too much for one movie, though presented with remarkable deftness.

    Jun 26, 2014 | Rating: 3/4
  • "Ivory Tower" makes a persuasive case that the gravest epidemic that's spreading from college campuses isn't student-loan debt but attention-deficit disorder.

    Jun 26, 2014 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • One of the most interesting discoveries is that it's not just students who are in debt. In the spirit of competitiveness, colleges have had to up the ante.

    Jun 19, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Rossi gives us a survey course when what we need is a seminar; the movie is a useful "What's Wrong With College 101" but the advanced study remains to be done.

    Jun 19, 2014 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • Though the filmmakers take on too much in 90 minutes, they pass the test by convincing us that something needs to be done to end this financial nightmare, which can cost $60,000 per year per student.

    Jun 19, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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