Parents' Guide to

If You Build It

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Inspiring docu shows young people capable of great things.

Movie NR 2014 85 minutes
If You Build It Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 1 parent review

age 14+

Appropriate for any age, but a bit dull.

This documentary is inspiring, but a little boring. I wanted to show it to a small group of teens but wondered if they would be too bored - in the end, our agenda did not allow time for the movie so I didn't get to see their reaction. It is inspiring, and shows how teens grow from not really caring to feeling like they do do/make something individually to learning they as a group can make a difference in their community. If you are trying to motivate or inform teens about these goals, it's a great choice.... just cross your fingers that it holds their interest. There are questions that aren't answered - why was the school district so against them? Did some kids kind of drop out of the class or the summer project? Seems we only hear from some of the kids and increasingly, only see some of them. How successful was the market long-term? How much work did the kids do on the market, especially at the end? In a documentary, these are reasonable questions to ask about whether the real-life story ends as neatly as the film portrays.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This documentary is neither flashy nor action-packed, but its subject matter -- how to inspire kids in a town that the economy seemingly forgot -- is enormously appealing. Pilloton and Miller are fascinating subjects, altruistic and optimistic and desperate to make a change, and as such, they're interesting to watch.

When monkey wrenches are thrown their way, however, we don't always get a clear picture as to why they persist. Their plan is heartily endorsed by the superintendent of schools, but he's ousted early in the film and it's not clear why. Several local residents appear onscreen to laud Project H, but nobody ever explains why the school board is so dubious about it. No matter, there's plenty of inspiring stuff going on to interest viewers, including students who, through the class, identify a much-needed life direction. It's uplifting to watch the teens in If You Build It as they slowly begin to realize that not only are they capable of great things, they are actually going to create something wonderful.

Movie Details

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