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The First Grader (2011)

The First Grader

Overview


Genre

Biography, Drama

Release Date

May 13, 2011 (Limited)

MPAA Rating

PG-13

Duration

105 min.

Studio

National Geographic Entertainment

Official Site

click here

REVIEWS RATE:  Critics  Not quite bad, but it's not recommended either.    Readers  Be the 1st!

Cast and Crew


Director

Justin Chadwick

Producer

Sam Feuer, Richard Harding, David M. Thompson

Screenwriter

Ann Peacock

Starring

  • Naomie Harris as Jane Obinchu
  • Oliver Litondo
  • Tony Kgoroge
  • Tumisho Masha
  • John Sibi-Okumu

Story


In a small, remote mountain top primary school in the Kenyan bush, hundreds of children are jostling for a chance for the free education newly promised by the Kenyan government. One new applicant causes astonishment when he knocks on the door of the school. He is Maruge (Oliver Litondo), an old Mau Mau veteran in his eighties, who is desperate to learn to read at this late stage of his life. He fought for the liberation of his country and now feels he must have the chance of an education so long denied - even if it means sitting in a classroom alongside six-year-olds.

Moved by his passionate plea, head teacher Jane Obinchu (Naomie Harris), supports his struggle to gain admission and together they face fierce opposition from parents and officials who don't want to waste a precious school place on such an old man.

Full of vitality and humour, the film explores the remarkable relationships Maruge builds with his classmates some eighty years his junior. Through Maruge's journey, we are taken back to the shocking untold story of British colonial rule 50 years earlier where Maruge fought for the freedom of his country, eventually ending up in the extreme and harsh conditions of the British detention camps.

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REVIEWS BY CRITICS

“..a whole would have been better served if the director had kept his focus on the school - that might have turned this very good effort into an A..”
by Betsy Sharkey [LA Times]
“..complete with moral certainty and audience pandering..”
by Sam Kressner [Filmcritic.com]
“..too bad the script is predictable at every turn..”
by V.A. Musetto [New York Post]