A Small Act (2010) - Rotten Tomatoes

A Small Act (2010)

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When Hilde Back sponsored a young, rural Kenyan student, she thought nothing of it. She certainly never expected to hear from him, but years later she does. Now a Harvard graduate and a Human Rights Lawyer for the United Nations, Chris Mburu decides to find the stranger that changed his life. Inspired by her generosity, he starts a scholarship program of his own and names it for his former benefactor. The top students in Mukubu primary school are in the exact same situation as Chris once was. They are bright, but can't afford to pay school fees. With the creation of Chris' fund, these students have new hope. But the program is small; how many will qualify for a scholarship? Using a strong narrative, the film interweaves seemingly separate lives into a cohesive whole. With clarity and grace, A SMALL ACT, bears witness to the ripple effect a single action can create. -- (C) Official Site

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Critic Reviews for A Small Act

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (3)

The film couldn't be more heartening -- yes, individual actions do make a difference. But it's bittersweet as well.

October 29, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
New York Times
Top Critic

More of a telethon-ready fund-raiser than a work of dramatic reportage.

October 27, 2010 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

Arnold just expects her audience to accept that Mburu's doing the best he can and revere him for it.

October 26, 2010 | Full Review…
Village Voice
Top Critic

A quiet, affecting, affirmative film.

April 17, 2011 | Full Review…
Guardian

Palpably sincere and quietly moving.

April 15, 2011 | Rating: 3/5
London Evening Standard

Well made, powerfully moving and genuinely inspirational documentary that shows the astonishing ripple effect of an act of charity.

April 15, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
ViewLondon

Audience Reviews for A Small Act

I'm a little late to the party on this one, but as I write this, I'm in tears after watching this extraordinary documentary. Full disclosure here...I know many of the people behind this one - -Writer/Director/Producer, Jen Arnold, D.P./Producer, Patti Lee, and Editor Carl Pfirman - - and couldn't be more proud. A smash at this year's Sundance festival, and subsequently aired on HBO, this film is simply beautiful. We see how an elderly Holocaust survivor, living on her own in Sweden, was able to make such a difference by sponsoring a child's education in Kenya...and how this one small act reverberates around their respective communities. At times so tense (especially during a sequence where children await the results via text of a potentially life-changing exam), my heart was pounding. I was especially impressed by the wonderful cinematography, editing, and humanity of the piece. Opening sequence images instantly conveyed the power that we all live under the same sky, breathe the same air, and are responsible for each other, regardless of man-made borders. I grew up in a family that sponsored a young boy in the Philippines, and years later, I had the privilege of meeting him there in person. As a child, I didn't believe he existed, cynically thinking the whole thing was a hoax. He was real, and grateful. I felt our family had made a difference. This wonderful documentary reignited those same feelings. Bravo to everyone involved.

Glenn Gaylord
Glenn Gaylord

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