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+
POWER OF EDUCATION Naomie Harris, Oliver Litondo, and the children in The First Grader (Kerry Brown)
Genre: Drama; Starring: Naomie Harris, Oliver Litondo; Director: Justin Chadwick; Author: Ann Peacock; Runtime (in minutes): 103; MPAA Rating: PG-13; Distributor: National Geographic
Posted January 17 2015 — 3:45 PM EST
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