School Life (2017)


Critic Consensus: School Life offers a warm-hearted glimpse of an educational institution that may leave audiences as inspired as the students.


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This observational documentary follows a year in the lives of two inspirational teachers at Headfort, the only primary-age boarding school in Ireland. Housed in an 18th century estate, school life embraces tradition and modernity. For John, rock music is just another subject alongside Maths, Scripture and Latin, taught in a collaborative and often hilarious fashion. For his wife Amanda, the key to connecting with children is the book, and she uses all means to snare the young minds. For nearly half a century these two have shaped thousands of minds, but now the unthinkable looms: what would retirement mean? What will keep them young if they leave?

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Critic Reviews for School Life

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (11)

The immersion invites viewers to form their own thoughts on the children and teachers, and the value of the education offered at Headfort.

Sep 21, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

"School Life" is as charming, intimate and warm-hearted an observational documentary as you'd ever want to see.

Sep 14, 2017 | Full Review…

In tone, "School Life" feels like a recruiting film for prospective students. It isn't exactly profound, except perhaps in the way it makes a case for the theory that happiness comes first, and then learning.

Sep 14, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

A rambunctious collage of a self-contained self-sustaining world, with its own rules of play and concerns.

Sep 8, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

While Headfort may offer an aspirational model for schools, such pervasive niceness can come across as repetitive on screen ...

Sep 7, 2017 | Full Review…

It's the kind of school that could never exist in today's America: It's too freewheeling, too unstructured. Maybe it won't exist in Ireland much longer either, so it's a good thing that School Life manages to capture its weird, wonderful world.

Sep 6, 2017 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
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