Reviews and Festivals
"Final scenes with students learning about their futures and saying sad goodbyes amidst tears and hugs are heartwarming endings to this recommended title that casts the school in a good light. Academic libraries should include this documentary in their film collections to introduce education students to various teaching styles. Patrons of public libraries may enjoy basking in the daily life of an international group of students at Ireland's only boarding school for younger students. Highly recommended."
— Video Librarian
"A sweet film... Recommended for both college and general adult levels... This documentary would support courses in Education and also academic areas that might explore Irish and British-based school systems or society."
— Educational Media Reviews Online
"Very much worth the wait...Exudes both charm and authority"
"As charming, intimate and warm-hearted an observational documentary as you'd ever want to see...School Life also provides an empathetic example of what it takes to enable children to learn and flourish as well as an examination of exceptional teachers and an up-close illustration of just how it is they do what they do so well."
— Los Angeles Times
"The cutest documentary that Frederick Wiseman never made...Finds a finite poetry in the nature of education itself."
"Gentle but keen-eyed documentary celebrates contemporary, constructive methods of elementary education, while also taking cozy comfort in the more longstanding aspects of the institution...Filmmaking is delicately executed in every department."
"Delightful crowd-pleaser...An irresistibly admiring portrait...A conventionally mounted tribute to a genial, decidedly British form of eccentricity."
— The Hollywood Reporter
"A rambunctious collage of a self-contained self-sustaining world, with its own rules of play and concerns"
"Charming...The picture's easygoing structure is part of its charm- it mimics, perhaps, the passage of time at Headfort itself. The minutes we spend watching the movie fly by like the seasons"
"Endearing documentary about an unusual Irish prep...Imagine Fred Wiseman directing a remake of School of Rock but in Ireland and you're almost there, but with more incidental music and a closer focus on the charming characters."
— The Guardian
"An irresistibly charming journey of free flowing images and situations...A strong snapshot of an idyllic schooling experience."
— Huffington Post
"Gentle documentary of a year at an Irish boarding school...The immersion invites viewers to form their own thoughts on the children and teachers, and the value of the education offered at Headfort."
— San Francisco Chronicle
"An immersive look at the transformative power of education...Joyous, mind-opening experience...Moving, heartwarming look at youth, thoughtful discourse, and the emotional and intellectual power of artistic endeavors...Succeeds in being a joyous, human look at the role that school, education, and most importantly, teachers have in the lives of such malleable minds"
— The Playlist
"Paints a fascinating picture of boarding school culture while illuminating the Headfort's staff unique teaching philolsophies."
— Scholastic Teacher Magazine
"Warm, unquestioning portrait...A lovely, likeable picutre"
— The Irish Times
"Charmingly eccentric...Perhaps [profound] in the way it makes a case for the theory that happiness comes first, and then learning"
— The Washington Post
"Documents the school you wish you'd attended...School Life manages to capture its weird, wonderful world."
— AV Club
San Francisco International Film Festival, Golden Gate Award - Special Jury Award
Docville, Best Feature Documentary
Visions Du Réel, Audience Award
Magnificent 7, Bel Medic Award
Sundance Film Festival
San Francisco International Film Festival
Visions Du Réel
Guth Gafa International Documentary Film Festival
Hinterland Literary Festival
Sofia International Film Festival
Audi Dublin International Film Festival
Sydney Film Festival
Krakow International Film Festival
Berkshire International Film Festival
Nantucket Film Festival
Reykjavik International Film Festival
Budapest International Documentary Festival