The First Grader 2011

The First Grader

Critics Consensus

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62%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 78

76%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,337

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Movie Info

An 84-year-old Kenyan (Oliver Litondo) fights for his right to attend school for the first time and receive the education he previously could not afford.

Cast & Crew

Naomie Harris
Jane Obinchu
Oliver Litondo
Kimani N'gan'ga Maruge
Tony Kgoroge
Charles Obinchu
Sam Feuer
American Journalist
Nick Reding
Officer Johnson
Vusi Kunene
Mr. Kipruto
John Sibi-Okumu
Chairman of Education
Israel Makoe
David Chege
Mumbi Kaigwa
Education Secretary
Dan Ndambuki
DJ Masha
Ann Peacock
Screenwriter
Norman Merry
Executive Producer
Joe Oppenheimer
Executive Producer
Anant Singh
Executive Producer
Helena Spring
Executive Producer
Alex Heffes
Original Music
Rob Hardy
Cinematographer
Paul Knight
Film Editor
Margie Kiundi
Casting
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News & Interviews for The First Grader

Critic Reviews for The First Grader

All Critics (78) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (48) | Rotten (30)

Audience Reviews for The First Grader

  • Sep 25, 2012
    Wonderful movie!! Inspiring. Heartfelt. Moving....and so continues my theory that some of the best movies are the ones that I have never heard of.... I found this a heart warming story, and much to be learned from. The main character's determination to realize his dream against all odds is truly inspiring. Makes me count my American blessings.
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer
  • Aug 14, 2012
    Wow... that's what I said after watching this movie! Outstanding biographical drama directed by Justin Chadwick, starring Naomie Harris, Oliver Litondo, and Tony Kgoroge, and based on the true story of Kimani Maruge, a Kenyan man - Mau Mau freedom fighter - who enrolled in elementary education at the age of 84 after the Kenyan government announced universal and free elementary education in 2003. The British-produced film was shot in Kenya, despite earlier reports that it would be filmed in South Africa. Director Justin Chadwick explained the reasons saying: "We could have shot it in South Africa, but Kenya has this unbelievable, inexplicable energy - inherent in the children, and the people we were making the film about". And he was right - the energy of this film is something to be remembered! Inspirational and educational - but I have to say that I was upset that none of the crimes against humanity committed by the British portrayed in this movie, like the ones committed by the other mighty armies trying to "make it right"(for themselves) will ever be answered in the courts... it's just not right! Tough watching and very emotional - highly recommended!
    Panta O Super Reviewer
  • Sep 29, 2011
    This true story of an 84 year old Kenyan man who, against all opposition, wants to make use of the new law of free education for first graders, is a perfect feel good movie. While the flashbacks into his past that by and by reveal his eventful back story and explain the motivation for his wish to learn reading also give a glimpse into the violent history of the country, this is not a political film. It is a story about the importance of education, dealing with your past and standing up for yourself. The performances are top notch and heart warming, especially the leading man Oliver Litondo and Naomie Harris as teacher are adorable. While the film does not avoid all stereotypes that come with such stories it is still enthralling, touching, beautifully filmed and very entertaining. The best stories are still those where bad things happen to good people but in the end everyone gets what they deserve.
    Jens S Super Reviewer
  • Jun 22, 2011
    From the director of The Other Boleyn Girl comes a completely different story; one about perseverance and fighting for what is right. After just studying the Mau Mau of Kenya and their struggles against the British in the 1960's for a school project, it's devastating to see it on the big screen. The flashbacks are vivid, violent and disturbing, but the rest of the story is extremely heart-warming and inspiring. Oliver Litondo and Naomie Harris are absolutely superb in their roles. Harris is so different here from her role in Pirates of the Caribbean as Tia Dalma. I would highly recommend this film because it conveys some very important messages, it is beautiful, extremely up-lifting and well-done.
    Raymond W Super Reviewer

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