The First Grader Reviews

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August 24, 2018
The First Grader is a quietly educational experience.
March 21, 2017
This appealing mixture of contention and inspiration becomes a feel-good story that will make you shed a tear, then grin ear to ear.
February 23, 2012
Director Justin Chadwick's admirable effort manages to do more than inspire, educating auds with an important chapter in African history.
June 24, 2011
Seems to go on for ever and manipulates its audience in the most nave of ways.
June 24, 2011
A predictable but inspiring story of an 84-year-old, one-time Mau Mau warrior, who insists on an education at a Kenyan primary school.
June 24, 2011
June 23, 2011
It's a complex scenario, but this movie winds up telling a straightforward, and slightly sucrose, heartwarming tale.
June 23, 2011
The First Grader is based on a true story and what a true story it is.
June 23, 2011
Feels like a good movie to show teens at school; it's educational and inspiring, but dramatically plodding.
June 22, 2011
It's funny how 'real life' sometimes conforms so closely to hackneyed patterns of screenwriting.
June 20, 2011
An amazing tru-life story that's Hollywoodised within an inch of its life. A missed opportunity for something really special.
June 3, 2011
So much is said in Litondo's eyes, written in every wrinkle on his face, every move of his body, that a lot of what happened during his younger days didn't require depiction.
May 27, 2011
The First Grader is every bit as inspiring and heart-warming as you'd expect.
May 27, 2011
There are, to be sure, foregone conclusions in any kind of inspirational story of this ilk, but British filmmaker Justin Chadwick is weirdly keen on deflecting all drama.
May 26, 2011
The filmmaking is ... uneven, filled with charming picture-postcard scenes of smiling children and African sunshine that seem crafted for a different film than one with moments of horrific flashbacks.
May 20, 2011
Stow your cynicism and give this lesson in continuing education the response it deserves -- more than a polite clap, maybe even a sitting ovation.
May 20, 2011
It's a middle-of-the-road film.
May 19, 2011
You marvel all the more at Litondo's and Harris's performances, considering how much claptrap Ann Peacock's script requires them to put up with.
May 18, 2011
Strong performances and a stripped-down visual aesthetic help mitigate some of the movie's potential mawkishness.
May 13, 2011
Director Justin Chadwick filmed in Kenya, and his imagery, as well as the faces of the schoolchildren, and of Litondo, all of them nonactors, is far more expressive than the formulaic script.
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