The Great Debaters, directed by Denzel Washington is receiving mostly respectful reviews. Stephen Holden in the New York Times observes that it "may not aspire to be more than inspirational pop entertainment in the Oprah Winfrey mode (Ms. Winfrey is one of its producers), but unlike so many films of its ilk, it doesn't insult your intelligence. And it reminds you that social history airbrushed for the screen by Hollywood is preferable to none at all." Likewise, Bob Straus in the Los Angeles Daily News observes that "formulaic and manipulative as Debaters is, it's also smarter, wider-ranging and way, way better-acted than the average inspiring instructional." And Gene Seymour in Newsday suggests that the film's primary is fault is that it fails to be sufficiently challenging. "You admire the film for trying to get moviegoers worked up over protagonists who use rhetoric and reason as weapons instead of guns and fists. You lament that it doesn't trust its material enough to do much more than flatter its audience's good intentions," he writes.