The focus of Brooklyn Castle, the first directorial effort by Katie Dellamaggiore, is the incredibly successful chess team from I.S. 318, a public middle school in Brooklyn. But as much as the students and their families are the stars of this documentary, they share top billing with the collapse of the U.S. economy. That boondoggle casts a long shadow on the events of this film, as teachers and administrators struggle with budget cuts that threaten the school's extracurricular activities and electives. You can see the weight bearing down on the adults as much as on the kids. But through this lens, the successes of the chess team shine that much brighter. Same goes for the overarching goal of the film: to encourage parents and educators to protect extracurricular programs and electives. The kids in Brooklyn Castle are the icing on this dense cake. They are a charming, poised bunch with relatable personalities and appropriately lofty goals spurred on by the success they've achieved playing chess. Dellamaggiore presents their stories with clear eyes, avoiding the cloying emotion that could have hindered such a fine and uplifting work.
- Running Time:
- Release Date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
- MPAA Rating: PG
- Critic's Score: A-
- Watch the trailer