“Brooklyn Castle” is a social commentary on school budget cuts that is disguised as a documentary about chess. The story follows five students from Intermediate School 318, the inner-city Brooklyn public school and unlikely home of the country’s most successful middle school chess program. This chess team helps its diverse student population master the game through dedicated educators and administrative support. The only problem is that, rather than helping the audience to create an emotional connection to the kids, the movie depresses us with today’s grim state of education. I would have rather celebrated the success stories of these exceptional students instead of being reminded of school budget cuts and suffering extracurricular programs. “Brooklyn Castle” could have been an amazing, uplifting film but the end result is another average, politically-influenced documentary.
[Pictured: This is one of the most dedicated groups of preteens you will ever see.]