Critic Reviews



Based on 21 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
School Ties is surprisingly effective.
Playing Mr. Perfect, Brendan Fraser — yes, Encino Man — proves a smart and likable actor, alive to what’s going on around him. Sidney Poitier proved you could keep your integrity even in a role like this, and Fraser does too.
David's habit of grabbing, berating or otherwise challenging anyone who insults him gives School Ties a muscular quality not usually found in films about this subject.
More notable perhaps for a roster of future stars and Oscar winners than for its unexceptional plot, this well executed film nevertheless has its charms.
The boys put in fine performances but sadly the script lacks the depth of what could have been a challenging story.
This superman approach to character doesn't jibe with David's crisis of conscience. His smothering of his Jewish identity may make dramatic sense, but, the way it's enacted, it doesn't make much psychological sense. As Fraser plays him, David has such a robust sense of identity that his covertness isn't really believable. We keep hoping the film will turn into a movie about a kid who declared his Jewishness and fought the consequences.
There's a dramatic imbalance to Dick Wolf and Darryl Ponicsan's screenplay. By making David a saint, they make his bigoted tormentors ultra-despicable. It's so easy to identify who's in the right that it's hard to remember this wrong may exist in us.
As these films go, School Ties is more simplistic and has its dice more loaded than usual.
A bewildering mixture of fairly accomplished storytelling (I enjoyed it more than Dead Poets Society, which isn't saying a lot), awkward contrivances in the script, and lies in the overall conception so egregious they undercut any pretensions the film might have to social seriousness.
Nobly intended and about half baked, School Ties is a slightly glorified ``Afterschool Special`` that might function as an introduction to the evils of anti-Semitism for sheltered teens.

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