Old School Independence
The First Grader
Review by Ross Anthony

Simple, intense, powerful, always engaging. The film follows an 84-year-old man who decides to go back to school to learn to read. This alone would make an endearing film. But complicate things by making him a former prisoner of war in his own country and the already abrasive animosity turns hostile. (His past offense: initiating the revolution that lead to Kenya's independence in 1963.)

The filmmakers could have easily spent much more time developing each interesting facet of the true story on which this is based. But instead, the impact is given to quiet artistic "mini-builds" to each of the film's mini-big moments. A great deal is expressed in the moody close ups of these passionate actors and Kenyans of every generation.

I cried at several points. I expected this, as I'm a former volunteer teacher in Kenya. But, my girlfriend cried, too. We both recommend this film.

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  • The First Grader . Copyright © 2011.
  • Oliver Litondo, Naomie Harris, Emily Njoki, Hannah Wacera, John Kimani, Lwanda Jawar. Directed by Justin Chadwick. Written by Ann Peacock. National Geographic Entertainment.

Grade..........................A- (3/4)


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Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.


Last Modified: Sunday, 18-Dec-2011 13:37:27 PST