The First Grader 2011 PG-13 CC

Amazon Instant Video

(61) IMDb 7.4/10
Available in HD

The true story of an 84 year-old Kenyan villager and ex Mau Mau freedom fighter who fights for his right to go to school for the first time to get the education he could never afford.

Starring:
Naomie Harris, Oliver Litondo
Runtime:
1 hour 44 minutes

Available in HD on supported devices.

The First Grader

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Justin Chadwick
Starring Naomie Harris, Oliver Litondo
Supporting actors Tony Kgoroge, Alfred Munyua, Shoki Mokgapa, Vusi Kunene, Agnes Simaloi, Kamau Mbaya, Emily Njoki, Lwanda Jawar, Dan 'Churchill' Ndambuki, Hannah Wacera, John Kimani, Macharia Kamau, Abubakar Mwenda, Tom Gitau, Watson Mbirua, Shadrack Murimi Gachuhi, Mwenga Matilika, Kathyline Ndogori
Studio Relativity Media, LLC
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 61 customer reviews
The movie was very well done, with a great music background.
Amazon Customer
He is determined to get an education when his beloved country announces "free education for all!"
ldar23
One of the best movies you have never heard about...until now.
anotherdad

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Lonesome flyer on October 8, 2011
Format: DVD
. . . in hope, history and humanity. I was unaware of this film until ensconced on a 16 hour flight where I discovered it and watched it twice. I eagerly await the release of the DVD. The film is set in Kenya in the mid first decade of the current century. It concerns an old man -- a former Mau Mau revolutionary in Kenya's struggle for independence fifty years ago. The man, now in his eighties, has received a letter from the President of Kenya. He wants to read it for himself but cannot; he is illiterate. At the same time, it is announced that there will be free primary education for all Kenyans. He shows up on the first day of the school year to attempt to enroll in a school in a nearby village so that he can learn to read and write. Ultimately, the woman who runs the school accepts him over the objections of the parents of the children. I won't disclose any more of the plot, but this should be enough to provoke your immagination.

The film, based on a true story, does have a darkside in the recollection of some of the actions of the British in trying to control the rebellion. I commend the BBC for producing this film; it is very critical of the UK. There are very brief sequences of violence which are a necessary evil in the film without which the story would not ring true. But on the whole, The First Grader is inspiring and can be viewed on many levels.

I was touched deeply and entertained at the same time. This film is a must for anyone who loves teaching, learning and contemporary African history. And, if you haven't been to Kenya add a trip to your bucket list.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By ldar23 on February 28, 2012
Format: DVD
Well done portrayal of a true story - a hero (unknown) that survived 10 plus years of torture including watching his wife and son murdered determined to gain his land of Kenya 'back' and thus, freedom. Yet that is the "hidden" story. He is determined to get an education when his beloved country announces "free education for all!" At age 84, he wants to learn to read, and nothing deters him - not walking for miles, nor everyone criticizing or making fun of him. Not the children who at first tease him; nor the teachers who deny him and give him reason after reason. This hero is marvelously portrayed as is the beloved head teacher. Political corruption, even after "freedom" is obtained is correctly shown too; unfortunately too true and too frequent in these beautiful countries in Africa. His determination to get an education was not to base it on what he had done for his country until they took his teacher away; then he went to the "top" to get her back - for him and for the children, and I think for her, too. Well made, beautifully acted, scenery beautiful Africa/Kenya. When I read later tho it was planned for South Africa, then made in Kenya, I was pleased. I have traveled to both; and it is more meaningful having been made in the country of the story and the hero, with mostly local people. Loved this movie and hate the torture/war - why does man continue these evil ways? This movie portrays the worst of man and the best of man.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Gregg Chadwick on November 14, 2011
Format: DVD
"The First Grader", like Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire, seamlessly combines story and place to create an illuminating beacon for our time.

"The First Grader" portrays the story of Kimani Maruge, an 84 year old Mau Mau veteran who helped liberate Kenya from the British. After the Kenyan government announced in 2003 that free schooling would be offered for all, Maruge, played marvelously by Kenyan actor Oliver Litondo, arrives at a primary school to finally get his chance at an education - long denied under oppressive colonial rule and unavailable to him since independence.

As the story unfolds, the realities of rural Kenyan life intermix with Maruge's traumatic memories of torture, incarceration, and the murder of his loved ones, which he endured steadfastly for the sake of freedom. These very real scenes make a powerful emotional impact but with a remarkable reverence, a profound sense of calling and self respect despite injustice. There is an artistic elegance to this film that combines truth telling with transcendence.

'The First Grader", based on a true story, uses a school full of actual Kenyan pupils playing themselves. Oliver Litondo (Maruge) explains that high up in the Rift Valley "education is coming in as a new thing." The youngsters were not surprised to see an older student, there was already a fifteen year old in a class of six year olds, so the students accepted Maruge as one of them - just another student seeking an education like they were. Shared goals and shared experiences create a bond between the young students and Maruge.

There are also important shadow elements in the story written by screenwriter Ann Peacock.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 6, 2011
Format: DVD
This is an excellent film showing the value of an education. It should be seen by every student in junior high and high school. I am disappointed it was not available to view in more theaters, but am happy it is coming out in video. The movie was very well done, with a great music background.
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