Sundance Review: Ivory Tower


Director:Andrew Rossi


Running Time:108 Minutes


What is the value of an education? Most parents tell their children that you can't put a price on education. So why is it that the majority of universities are doing just that?

The structure of the American college university is failing. The cost of tuition, room and board and other expenses is sky rocking year after year. The question that emerges from this epidemic is: can the structure be fixed? Is there a way we can lower the price for higher education? These are the questions that director Andrew Rossi contemplates in his new documentary Ivory Tower.

Most of the documentary looks at the issues surrounding Ivy League schools such as Harvard and Stanford, while briefly looking into alternative schooling such as Deep Springs College, an all-male university that prides itself on self-governance, academics and labor. The documentary also looks at the UnCollege movement in California and the controversy surrounding Cooper Union, a university founded on free education that may have to start charging tuition because of the financial crisis.

All of these stories are important, but I found this documentary disjointed to say the least. I think this film could have flourished as a miniseries on TV that highlighted each individual university one episode at a time because each university has so much ground to cover with the issues that surround that institution. Unfortunately, a documentary like this barely scratches the surface.

This film doesn't know what it wants to be, and"”like a kid trying to figure out what major to choose in college"”it can be a wild ride that doesn't quite payoff.


About Matt Kerwin

Matt Kerwin

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