Higher Learning (1995)


Higher Learning is a film by John Singleton featuring Omar Epps, Kristy Swanson, Michael Rapaport, Jennifer Connelly, Ice Cube, Jason Wiles, Tyra Banks, Cole Hauser and Laurence Fishburne (known as Morpheus in The Matrix). The story takes place in Columbus University — a fictional university in California — and follows the lives of Malik Williams (Omar Epps), Kristen Connor (Kristy Swanson) and Remy (Michael Rapaport).

I liked this film for its latent cynicism and its documentary feel, everything is stereotypical, but rightfully so, and there are no good guys, or bad guys, or stupid love stories, it’s about an university, and the lives of (stupid) freshmen, and there are issues; it’s a good summary of what’s wrong with the antagonisms commonly seen in the USA. It’s satirical but it’s a decent way to get the message across.

Having read the reviews on IMDb, I noticed that many don’t take the satirical touch all too well; and some don’t see the plot as ambitious enough. It’s not very ambitious and a bit predictable, but that’s not the point. I also noticed some see it as too offensively racist, and I think the racism in this film is intentional so I wasn’t really put off by it, it deals with it in a refreshing — almost visionary — way: a black character trying to make excuses using his “underpriviliged” status.