Higher Learning
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This drama examines the personal, political, and racial dilemmas facing a group of college freshmen as they begin their first semester at Columbus University. Malik (Omar Epps) is an African-American student attending on a track scholarship; academics are not his strong suit, and he goes in thinking that his athletic abilities will earn him a free ride through college. Fudge (Ice Cube), a "professional student" who has been at Columbus for six years so far, becomes friendly with Malik and challenges his views about race and politics in America, while Professor Phipps (Laurence… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 50%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Despite some likable performances (Epps is especially winning), the drama in Higher Learning is constricted, hemmed in by Singleton's compulsion to view his characters as walking paradigms of racial and sexual politics."
‑ Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
"Everyone here, from beer-swilling white fraternity boys to rap-loving black students harassed by the campus police, can be judged at face value. Everyone is exactly what he or she seems."
‑ Janet Maslin, New York Times
"The film lapses into polarized melodrama but it's a handsome piece, displaying a fair understanding of our desperate need to belong."
‑ , Film4
"For anyone who's been to USC, it's a pretty hilarious parody of life there. If you take it as presented, however, it's over-dramatic and unbelievable."
‑ Luke Y. Thompson, New Times
"...John Singleton's third (and best) film."
‑ David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews
"Higher Learning has a great many things on its mind, which immediately places it in a rather exclusive category of American films these days."
‑ Todd McCarthy, Variety
"Higher Learning is often clichéd, unfocused and didactic. But Singleton has a goal most of his contemporaries have given up on: He wants to make a movie that makes a difference."
‑ Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"Singleton gets points for exposing the hypocrisy of "politically correct" institutions, but stilted dialogue and cardboard characterizations undermine the message."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Another tour-de-force for Singleton"
‑ Clint Morris, Moviehole
"Flawed but often arresting drama"
‑ James Sanford, Kalamazoo Gazette
"A stylish, intelligent film-maker, Singleton interweaves the threads of his demographic tapestry with assurance, passion and a welcome awareness of the complexities of the college community's contradictory impulses towards integration and separatism."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"Presenting problems is not the same as dramatizing them successfully, and as strong as his message is, Singleton has not found the best way to deliver it."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"There's some nice ideas and realistically felt characters here."
‑ Brad Laidman, Film Threat
"John Singleton at his most pretentious and preachy."
‑ Blake Davis, KFOR Channel 4 News
"Almost unwatchable."
‑ Alex Sandell, Juicy Cerebellum
More reviews for Higher Learning on Rotten Tomatoes

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