If You Build It
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From the director of WORDPLAY and I.O.U.S.A. comes a captivating look at a radically innovative approach to education. IF YOU BUILD IT follows designer-activists Emily Pilloton and Matthew Miller to rural Bertie County, the poorest in North Carolina, where they work with local high school students to help transform both their community and their lives. Living on credit and grant money and fighting a change-resistant school board, Pilloton and Miller lead their students through a year-long, full-scale design and build project that does much more than just teach basic construction skills: it… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"An inspiring, educational, highly enjoyable documentary from director Patrick Creadon, best known for 2008's I.O.U.S.A., which chronicled America's less-than-healthy fiscal condition."
‑ Tirdad Derakhshani, Philadelphia Inquirer
"A bracing, quietly exhilarating documentary about a group of high school students who discover their inner architects over the course of an academic year."
‑ Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
"You'll be happy you saw this film."
‑ Kelly Vance, East Bay Express
"If they build it, you should still stay home."
‑ Chris Hewitt (St. Paul), St. Paul Pioneer Press
"Inspiring docu shows young people capable of great things."
‑ S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
"The film is about innovation inside and outside the classroom and the transformative power of good teaching."
‑ Loren King, Boston Globe
"Patrick Creadon's modest 82-minute documentary is a record of good intentions in action."
‑ Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"This stirring, wonderful documentary follows two idealistic, tenacious young architects arriving in the deep South to teach rural high school kids to design and build."
‑ Gerald Peary, Arts Fuse
"At its core, If You Build It isolates the power of a hands-on education and consideration for the greater good."
‑ Brian Orndorf, Blu-ray.com
"A bittersweet exploration of outreach and advocacy [that] illustrates the benefits of the practical application of alternative education, and the ripple effects it can create for a community."
‑ Brent Simon, Shared Darkness
"[Creadon] probably errs on the side of advocacy here. But give him credit for acknowledging that idealistic endeavors don't always pay off."
‑ Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle
"The film proves not only a stirring look at education's potential to rally and invigorate but also a vital snapshot of contemporary rural America."
‑ Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
"This is a compelling narrative both in its own terms and as a metaphor of many of the core themes and conflicts in America today."
‑ Nell Minow, Beliefnet
"Like a movie about people who see someone with a broken leg and say, "I bet you'd feel better after a massage.""
‑ Matt Pais, RedEye
"...[it reminds] us of the wonders that can be accomplished simply by rolling up your sleeves and getting to work."
‑ Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist
More reviews for If You Build It on Rotten Tomatoes