In much the same way that Bully sparked outrage over the challenging conditions this generation of children face against one another and school administrators who shirk their duties to promote and maintain a safe learning environment for all, Brooklyn Castle narrows the focus to one NYC public school’s efforts to support their junior high chess team with budget cuts looming. While the financial crisis never fades, director Kate Dellamaggiore (making her documentary feature debut here) wisely chooses to place the attention right where it matters most — on the special group of kids who devote all of their time and energy to learning and mastering a game that will certainly prepare them for whatever life throws at them in the future.

These kids, not your stereotypical nerds, proudly defy expectations and put us all on notice that there’s more where that came from. Each and every one of these young players (and their hopes and dreams for chess and beyond) gets their moment to shine, which sets Brooklyn Castle up as that guiding light, that beacon drawing attention to a problem that needs to be addressed immediately. We cannot allow fiscal ineptitude across the board to checkmate our future. (PG) Grade: A