75

Philadelphia Inquirer

By Tirdad Derakhshani
An inspiring, educational, highly enjoyable documentary.
Full Review
75

Boston Globe

By Loren King
If this blend of community service, innovative teaching, and creative approach to design and construction sounds idealistic, the film’s final scenes deliver enough stress and sweat to show that idealism takes hard work, too.
Full Review
75

San Francisco Chronicle

By Walter Addiego
Director Patrick Creadon, who in 2006 made the entertaining "Wordplay," about crossword fanatics, probably errs on the side of advocacy here. But give him credit for acknowledging that idealistic endeavors don't always pay off.
Full Review
75

The Playlist

By Kevin Jagernauth
Less a polemic than a portrait, If You Build It celebrates the flinty spirit that spurs problem solving and creativity (sometimes at the same time) with people not dedicated to a cause, but to people.
Full Review
70

Los Angeles Times

By Gary Goldstein
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.
Full Review
60

New York Daily News

By Joe Neumaier
This honest and engrossing film shows how ingenuity and spark can restore excitement in education. That goal needs every helping hand it can get.
Full Review
60

Time Out New York

Credit goes to Creadon for venturing beyond the classroom to look at how the teachers and students manage small victories despite limited resources.
Full Review
50

Variety

By Geoff Berkshire
A bittersweet ending offers both victory and defeat, but closes on a note of hard-won optimism.
Full Review
50

Village Voice

By Daphne Howland
Creadon unveils his story in a haphazard, backwards-unfolding way.
Full Review
40

The New York Times

By Nicolas Rapold
The movie’s biggest weakness comes with its tendency to film people telling us what’s going on rather than having us observe.
Full Review
59 out of 100
Mixed or average reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.