The Boys of Baraka
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Baltimore, MD, is a city where crime, drugs, and juvenile delinquency have crippled the African-American community, and it has been estimated that as many as 75 percent of African-American males in Baltimore drop out of high school each year. With this in mind, in the '90s a program was created to help at-risk students from Baltimore with academic promise achieve their potential -- 20 young men each year were sent to the Baraka School, a special institution in Kenya. There, students experience a simpler, more rural lifestyle than they would in the city, while at school they are subject to… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It's galling to think American kids must go abroad for a chance to turn their lives around. But it's also inspiring to see the changes that are possible."
‑ Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle
"Here is a movie that makes you want to do something. Cry, or write a check, or howl with rage."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Raw emotions, both uplifting and depressing, are captured."
‑ Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film
"Rough but heartfelt, The Boys of Baraka addresses an important issue with conviction."
‑ Daniel Eagan, Film Journal International
"Imagine if "Hoop Dreams" (1994), the documentary about Chicago high schoolers who dream of making the NBA, had slammed to a halt after the kids' junior year, and you'll get a feeling for the way "The Boys of Baraka" leaves you hanging."
‑ Phil Villarreal, Arizona Daily Star
"A potent mixture of heartbreak and crushing irony."
‑ John Hartl, Seattle Times
"This is a gripping documentary look at four Baltimore youngsters sent to a school in rural Kenya that specializes in dealing with troubled American boys from the inner city."
‑ Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle
"I feel that all its acclaim and awards are meant more for the cause than for the artistic or journalistic achievements of presenting the cause."
‑ Christopher Campbell, Cinematical
"After Born into Brothels won an Academy Award for Best Documentary, it was only a matter of time before the imitators started coming along."
‑ Kam Williams, Chicken Bones Journal
"Is public indifference to the circumstances that produce these dead-end expectations fueled as much by the hopelessness depicted in well-meaning documentaries like 'Baraka' as by violent gangsta rap narratives and cliched boyz-n-the-hood movies?"
‑ John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
"A potent emotional experience."
‑ Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
"A film that might have been a dry exercise in earnest nonfiction filmmaking becomes a soaring, artistically complex testament to survival, character and hope."
‑ Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
"leaves out vital pieces of information, such as how and why the school was founded and who pays for it"
‑ Don Willmott, Filmcritic.com
"Ends on a mixed note of hope and helplessness that clings to the consciousness for days."
‑ Robert W. Butler, Kansas City Star
"This documentary makes you wonder what our nation's schools would be like if educators had all the resources they need and deserve . . . and if students here had as much individual instruction as they need and deserve."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
More reviews for The Boys of Baraka on Rotten Tomatoes