Higher Learning
Higher Learning (1994)

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… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Genre: Drama
Release Date: June 1, 1994
DVD Release Date: July 3, 2001
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Critic Score: 50% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly

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.

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Janet Maslin
New York Times

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.


The film lapses into polarized melodrama but it's a handsome piece, displaying a fair understanding of our desperate need to belong.

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Todd McCarthy

Higher Learning has a great many things on its mind, which immediately places it in a rather exclusive category of American films these days.

Peter Travers
Rolling Stone

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.

TV Guide

Singleton gets points for exposing the hypocrisy of "politically correct" institutions, but stilted dialogue and cardboard characterizations undermine the message.

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Geoff Andrew
Time Out

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.

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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times

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.

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Brad Laidman
Film Threat

There's some nice ideas and realistically felt characters here.

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More reviews for Higher Learning

Flixster Audience Score: 74% Flixster User Reviews
danny d
a gripping story of race relations at the university level. thankfully most universities are beyond this, as is much of american society, but there are still… More
James Alvarez
In this movie we learn everyone is an ignorant dick and Singleton will never make a better movie than Boyz N Tha Hood.
Jason Owens
I remember in late '94 or early '95 when I and about 5 other students were helping out a teacher outside of class in her room, and she asked what our… More
Dean McKenna
Amazing and emotional story of new students at the institute of Columbus University with every black, white, Jew and lesbian neatly slotted into his or her… More
Khris N
John Singleton's ability to delve into multi-issues and stories creates a superb drama in the most unusual of settings - a university campus. Headed by a… More
Antony Stubbs
Frequently attacked, but I'm keen on it. Perhaps pretty stereotypical, and seems to attribute nearly all of the racist problems to a difference in music,… More

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