The Providence Effect (2009)


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Providence-St. Mel, a private school in Chicago, is celebrated nationwide for its remarkable success rate: for nearly 30 years, 100 percent of its students have gone on to attend college. As the nation faces an ongoing crisis in public education, many administrators and activists have begun turning to the Providence model to boost test scores and student confidence. This documentary chronicles the school's unique history, and offers testimonies from generations of Providence-St. Mel teachers and alumni.


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Critic Reviews for The Providence Effect

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (8)

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.

Oct 16, 2009 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

This uplifting documentary breaks no new ground stylistically, but the story it tells is urgent and compelling.

Oct 2, 2009 | Full Review…

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.

Oct 1, 2009 | Rating: 2.5/4

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.

Sep 25, 2009 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

More an infomercial than a movie, The Providence Effect is, at best, a well-earned tribute to one manâ(TM)s unwavering vision.

Sep 25, 2009 | Rating: 2.5/5

The Providence Effect is impressive, although not quite the film it could have been.

Sep 24, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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