Parents' Guide to

Ivory Tower

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Frank look at business of college is a must-see for teens.

Movie PG-13 2014 90 minutes
Ivory Tower Poster Image

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Is It Any Good?

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Ivory Tower doesn't feel like your run-of-the-mill lecture: It's insightful, illuminating, and -- frankly -- distressing. (Just wait till you see the statistics.) Though it's pretty straightforward filmmaking (no surprises here), it will leave audiences wondering about the priorities of school officials, the future of education, and the financial burden placed on the next generation.

It does suffer a bit from lack of coherence, feeling a bit like several mini-documentaries stitched together. There's one segment on a student occupation at Cooper Union in New York, another on the emergence of online learning, another on student loan debt spiraling out of control, and more. They all paint a fairly bleak picture of higher learning, and it's clear the filmmakers have done their homework. But what's the solution? Is there one, even a kernel? (Besides Massive Open Online Courses, aka MOOCs?) Fascinating data will fascinate, but without vision, you may be left feeling a bit down and directionless. Still, this should be required viewing for anyone considering college.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: June 13, 2014
  • On DVD or streaming: September 30, 2014
  • Director: Andrew Rossi
  • Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Company
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Run time: 90 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: some suggestive and partying images
  • Last updated: October 8, 2022

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