The First Grader review

Uplifting true story about a Kenyan octogenarian determined to get an education

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A heart-tugging true story about an octogenarian Kenyan who took advantage of his government’s pledge of free education for all makes for an inspirational if formulaic tale in the hands of director Justin Chadwick.

Oliver Litondo brings a quiet dignity to the role, even clad in school uniform, while Naomie Harris exudes positivity as the teacher who champions his cause.

The problem is the filmmakers want to educate us too, about British rule in Kenya and the Mau Mau rebellion that helped overthrow it.

When you go to the movies it shouldn’t feel like there’ll be a test afterwards.

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Freelance Writer

Neil Smith is a freelance film critic who has written for several publications, including Total Film. His bylines can be found at the BBC, Film 4 Independent, Uncut Magazine, SFX Magazine, Heat Magazine, Popcorn, and more.