A World Apart (1988) - Rotten Tomatoes

A World Apart (1988)




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Cinematographer Chris Menges' first directorial effort, A World Apart was inspired by the lives of South African journalist Ruth First and her daughter Shawn Slovo (who wrote the film's screenplay). Barbara Hershey plays the fictional counterpart to Ms. First, Diana Roth, with Jodhi May as her daughter. Told from the daughter's viewpoint, the film shows us that Diana and her husband Jeroen Krabbe are so busy with their anti-Apartheid political activism that they totally shut May out of their lives. In 1963, Hershey is arrested by the South African police, becoming the first white woman to be held under the infamous 90-day-detention act. Left despondent and suicidal by two separate arrests and by constant harassment from the police, Diana still won't include her daughter in her life until the girl presses the issue in a climactic confrontation. Some critics felt that Shawn Slovo was using A World Apart to settle unresolved issues in her own life: Ruth First was killed under suspicious circumstances in 1982, without ever reconciling with her daughter.more
Rating: PG (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Shawn Slovo
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 23, 2005
Media Home Entertainment


Barbara Hershey
as Diana Roth
Jodhi May
as Molly Roth
Tim Roth
as Harold
Merav Gruer
as Jude Roth
Rosalie Crutchley
as Mrs. Harris
Kate Fitzpatrick
as June Abelson
Toby Salaman
as Gerald Abelson
Nadine Chalmers
as Yvonne Abelson
Maria Pilar
as Spanish Dance Teache...
Esma Levend
as Whitworth
Stephen Williams
as Arresting Officer
Margaret Hogan
as History Teacher
Andre Proctor
as Arresting Officer
Andrew Whaley
as Interrogating Office...
Cont Mhlanga
as Mtutuzeli Nzekwu
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for A World Apart

Critic Reviews for A World Apart

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (6)

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 24, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for A World Apart

There is a strong social consciousness and political content, but Menges also brings a subdued and personal dramatic atmosphere and rich visual sensibility to the film.


I felt moved by the families plight. This movie (which is based on a true person)was interesting, since it mostly took the view of the daughter of a activist and ethical fighter. It is not often that you are given a chance to feel what it is like to often feel like you are second place to an ideal and fight (as in apartheid). I would give this a 3 1/2. I would like to have felt more at times but it was an interesting journey.[img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/smilies/wink.gif[/img]

Cindy King

This is a great story of one woman's standing up for her rights and the rights of every human being. A GREAT performance by Barbara Hershey, and maybe an even better performance by young Jodhi May as her daughter.
Nice supporting turns by David Suchet and Paul Freeman as Johannesburg police detectives (two Brits doing flawless South African dialects), and an appearance by a so-fucking-young-he's-pre-natal Tim Roth.

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