Friday, May 13, 2011

Movie with Abe: The First Grader (Capsule Review)

The First Grader
Directed by Justin Chadwick
Released May 13, 2011

It’s a treat to find a story that’s positively affirming and inspirational as well as politically stirring and historically relevant. “The First Grader” is a simple film with a kind heart that spotlights Kimani Maruge, a real-life Kenyan man who, following the announcement of free education for all, decided to enroll and learn how to read at the age of eighty-four. Oliver Litondo is charming as Maruge, who is plagued by memories of the harsh torture and sadness he experienced as a young man, and Litondo conveys it all through his distinct facial expressions and gentle tone of voice. Naomie Harris fills the role of his sole supporter, a forward-thinking teacher with a soft spot for the old man. The movie is prone to some traditional plot conventions, but all in all, it’s a sweet and enduring story with an extremely sympathetic hero.


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