Movies

The First Grader

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

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

C+

The First Grader

Genre: Drama; Starring: Naomie Harris, Oliver Litondo; Director: Justin Chadwick; Author: Ann Peacock; Runtime (in minutes): 103; MPAA Rating: PG-13; Distributor: National Geographic

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+

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Originally posted May 13 2011 — 12:00 AM EDT

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