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Article

The First Grader Movie Review

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Naomie Harris, The First Grader | POWER OF EDUCATION Naomie Harris, Oliver Litondo, and the children in The First Grader
Kerry Brown

The First Grader

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
PG-13
runtime:
103 minutes
Limited Release Date:
05/13/11
performer:
Naomie Harris, Oliver Litondo
director:
Justin Chadwick
distributor:
National Geographic
author:
Ann Peacock
genre:
Drama

We gave it a C+

In the Kenyan bush circa 2003, an illiterate 84-year-old Mau Mau freedom fighter (Oliver Litondo) who survived imprisonment during British colonialism joins a classroom of 6-year-olds learning to read, guided by a kindly teacher (Naomie Harris from 28 Days Later). The story, based in fact, is told with such undifferentiated, textbook-style admiration for African culture, singing schoolchildren, passionate instructors, and wise elders that The First Grader plays more like a teaching tool than a dynamic drama. C+

See all of this week’s reviews