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God Grew Tired of Us: The Story of Lost Boys of Sudan
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Reviews & Ratings for
God Grew Tired of Us More at IMDbPro »God Grew Tired of Us: The Story of Lost Boys of Sudan (original title)

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51 out of 57 people found the following review useful:

inspiring, funny, charming, educational, depressing...

10/10
Author: hsfilmteacher from United States
29 January 2006

Just saw this at Sundance. Truly, an excellent, humane look at immigrant/refugee assimilation in the United States. The parts where the boys discover electricity, cars, and supermarkets are funny as hell. The parts where the boys question whether people are better off in the U.S. or Africa are poignant and revealing of our luxuries and ignorance.

The film briefly covers the history of the mid-80s civil war in Sudan, and the subsequent exodus of young Sudanese men and boys into a refuge camp in Kenya. It focuses on the first four years of the lucky few "lost boys" who are offered refuge in the U.S.

By far, my favorite part, is the film's effective portrayal of these young men as articulate, intelligent beings. It's too easy for us to create a stereotypical picture of Africa in our minds. This film blows all of my previous conceptions away.

Immediately after seeing this at Sundance, someone wrote a $25,000 check to help one of the main character's projects. If I had the money, I would have done the same.

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46 out of 59 people found the following review useful:

This Movie is like an alarm clock to your heart, Mind, and for your eyes to see.........

10/10
Author: Jakoma Machok (jakoma2002@yahoo.com) from United States
14 January 2007

There is only one perfect Jesus Christ, and he does not hold office or lead a country. Every other human being (or president) and every system devised by man is flawed. The ceaseless journey of my life began before I even existed. I am also a LOST BOY OF SUDAN AND Sometimes I wonder whether the love of one's family is real or imaginary, or a lesson of reason, or an instinct of nature? I still look back with pleasure on the first episodes of my life together with my family, though that pleasure has been for the most part intermingled with sorrow. Sadly I wasn't lucky enough to grow up in my country to design my future life together with my parents, siblings, relatives and friends. In 1987, at age of five, the war separated me from my family. I was miserably unhappy. But now that I am mature enough to comprehend the upward and downward of the this confusing world, it has become obvious to me that happiness and unhappiness must cancel out each other. And if I were unhappy now, I would necessarily be happy later on.

I Encourage you to go see it and you will be amaze how much you will learn about our lives!!! Good luck!

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23 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Lost and Found

8/10
Author: Joseph Belanger (joseph.belanger@gmail.com) from Montreal
22 July 2007

How often do critics and audiences agree on something? I think we can all admit it's somewhat rare. So when I heard that documentary, GOD GREW TIRED OF US, had managed to win both the Audience Prize and the Grand Jury Prize at last year's Sundance festival, I was certainly intrigued. However, when I finally caught the trailer, skepticism settled in. The film appeared to be some sort of social experiment where young, African men were transplanted into America with an array of comedic mishaps to follow. What could be funnier than watching the unexposed baffled over how to use an escalator? Still, I was not deterred. I would see with my own eyes what movie had managed to appease the masses and the minutiae-oriented. Proving once again that you cannot judge a movie by its proverbial cover, GOD GREW TIRED OF US is a unique and rare experience that burrows its way into your mind and soul, forcing you to see your world and the world outside your world through the eyes of a wide-eyed stranger.

In 1983, the second Sudanese Civil war began. Over 27,000 young boys and girls (many more boys than girls as girls were often snatched up by attackers to be raped and/or turned into slaves first) fled their villages and journeyed to refugee relief camps in bordering countries, Ethiopia and Kenya. The treks lasted a few years and only 12,000 managed to reach their destinations. These camps became their new homes, in some cases for fifteen years. In 2001, an aid program was put in place to bring 3800 young men over to the United States. The program was called The Lost Boys of Sudan. It was at this point that filmmakers Christopher Dillon Quinn and Tommy Walker made their way to the refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya. They would follow three lost boys as they traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to begin their new life. Using archival footage to demonstrate the horrendous experience endured by these young men in their boyhood, Quinn ensures that his audience understands where these men came from and what family and community means to them before he shows their worlds being turned upside down.

Though the Lost Boys' coming face to face with electricity and the subtle differences between turning a light on at the source or by using the wall switch can be comedic, their introduction to Western society is more telling of the natives than anything else. Coming from a past that at one point included eating mud as a source of water while in the desert, must make the concept of testing the water coming from your shower head until it is just right before stepping underneath it seem downright extravagant. Excessive is a Western way of life for those who can afford it. Even those who can't live above their means to appear that they can. When the Lost Boys walk down the aisles of a large chain grocery store, awe beams from their eyes. The point is only further proved when they are offered a taste of a sugar doughnut smothered in sprinkles. They each take tiny bites as if unsure of what form of ridiculousness they're biting into. Everyone around them walks up and down the grocery store aisles as if they do it every day and think nothing of it. I would be doing the same and GOD GREW TIRED OF US, without being accusatory or judgmental, draws your attention to how much you take for granted on a daily basis. It'll get you thinking about your supposed needs the next time you bite into a doughnut of your own.

What gives GOD GREW TIRED OF US its deeper, more substantial meaning is the decision to not just e xpose the culture shock the Lost Boys endure as if they were guinea pigs put on screen for our privileged perspectives to devour. The film goes further when it follows the Lost Boys as they cement their lives in the United States over a period of three years. The illusion wears off when you have to work three jobs to afford your basic needs while sending money to your family back in Africa that you haven't seen in over fifteen years. America the beautiful quickly becomes a very lonely place that feels very far from home. Despite having opportunity and an abundance of everything, the Lost Boys still miss the Sudan. GOD GREW TIRED OF US is respectful of both its subjects and its audience, always sure never to demean one for the sake of the other. Maybe this is why it has captured the attention of critics and audiences alike; its humbling, thought-provoking nature levels the distance between the two, where each group feels better than the other, allowing each to see that they are no different from each other when faced with the bigger picture of humanity and its arduous journey towards global compassion.

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18 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Welcome to America?

9/10
Author: idonotexist from atl
14 August 2007

This is a documentary that is of a rare type, yet one that i wish there was more of. It is rare because it is real. There isn't a script, no plot. The camera follows the characters and not the other way around.

This movie is about a group of Sudanese refugees granted asylum into the USA after wandering around Africa for years having been displaced by the wars in the 1990s that affected Sudan.

I am sure some will say that we have all seen this before.. people in dire situations, starving people, famine.. Yes we have, but what we haven't seen enough about is how these people, the few given a chance at a normal life deal with the adjustment and their new home.

This is a movie about Sudanese refugees yet it unmistakably makes you wonder about yourself and your own country. Through their eyes we are given a different perspective about us, perhaps a perspective that we so cannot see from our own point of view. The movie highlights the undeniable workaholic and isolationist American culture that is remotely not as welcoming as we would all like to claim. As the movie progresses we see their lives change, them trying to fit in, struggling with social norms (put your thinking caps on for this part of the movie) and generally trying to make it in the big capitalist state that we are. It isn't easy, but is it worth it? What these people have to give up makes you think of what we have given up and not even realize it or deem it important, yet for someone who comes from a different culture, the fragmented society is not a culture shock, it's lack of culture.

It doesn't matter if one agrees with their views on our weird lifestyle. What matters is that this is a beautiful documentary about struggle, both in the old life and the new. It is amazing to me, yet not foreign, how they are eventually forced to drop out of school and work menial jobs to make ends meet and try to help any people back home they can. Then comes the realization that a man can only do so much..

As time goes we see them make changes (generally improve) to their lives, get involved with activities, mend with the local culture. As we see the changes taking place it is hard not to understand the people and that is one of the high points of this movie. The information isn't forced to you but you warm up to is by listening what the boys have to say about their experiences and their lives.

A highly recommended real life documentary that is worth checking out, particularly if you like something different. There are also a few lines (can't miss them) that will make you chuckle because they are the same things that every American says often.

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16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

"Toto, we're not in Sudan anymore!"

Author: (futures@exis.net) from Ronn Ives/FUTURES Antiques, Norfolk, VA.
7 May 2007

"The Lost Boys of Sudan": Documentary. Imagine you're a four year old boy. Countrymen, who look just like your very own Father, come into your town, and kill all the men and older boys, rape and kill all the women and girls, including your Mother and Sisters. You were in the fields, tending the goats, and saw it all. Now you – a four year old boy – are being hunted by these countrymen. You gather with other little boys, and set out barefoot, running and walking the wild countryside – hiding during the day, hiking only under the cover of night – when the lions come out – who stalk and kill many of your group. Imagine you somehow survive, and find yourself living in refugee camps run by Americans. You are there the next ten years. This is your home. The other boys, now men, are your Family. One day, YOU are offered a free trip to America – to better your life, make money, and send some of it home to help your surviving family and friends. Take the offer! You grew up in a mud hut on the Sudanese Plain, and suddenly you are welcomed/dropped into America. "Toto, we're not in Sudan anymore." This is a frightening, funny, interesting, frustrating, VERY sad look at Life with Nothing but Struggle. Their daily observations and realizations about this culture make you wince. Often.

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16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Lost Boys, but not lost spirits

10/10
Author: csamgo4 from United States
13 January 2007

Recently saw a screening of the film. Afterward had the pleasure of meeting and listening to John Dau speak. This film should be shown on TV as well, to enlighten, educate the UNITED STATES, because we can be very ignorant about our knowledge of the outside world.

These young boys and men, proved to be so endearing, very bright, hard working people. When one of them commented about someone asking about them living in the forest...he was lovely with his response. For him it was just common sense "No you can not live in the forest, it's impossible" It made me think of what Oprah is currently doing with her school for girls. These young people want the education for the em-betterment of their families and countries. These Lost Boys came here and even though they're putting Ritz Crackers in a coffeemaker w/milk, somehow managed to receive their education (Masters, B.A.).

We as a nation, need to really take a serious look at ourselves...and perhaps this film.

BRAVO!

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

a must-see documentary

8/10
Author: Roland E. Zwick (magneteach@aol.com) from United States
30 December 2007

If nothing else, watching "God Grew Tired of Us" will make Westerners realize just how much they take for granted in their daily lives. For this is a wonderful and deeply moving documentary about three young men from Africa and their first, awe-inspiring encounter with the modern world.

John, Daniel and Panther are refugees who fled Sudan when war and genocide ravaged that once-beautiful country in the 1980's. They were part of a group of young boys who made an arduous and, for many, deadly trek from Southern Sudan to a refugee camp in Northern Kenya (those who survived the journey became known as "The Lost Boys of Sudan"). After living many years in substandard conditions at that site, 3,600 of the young men were given the opportunity to leave Kenya and start a new life in the United States. John, Daniel and Panther were three of those individuals.

As written and directed by Christopher Dillon Quinn (and narrated by Nicole Kidman), "God Grew Tired of Us" begins in despair, relating a heartbreaking tale of harrowing mass murder and deadly privation, and ends in hope, showing how one changed life can positively affect the lives of so many others the world over. For even though it vividly points out the bold line separating the haves from the have-nots in this world, the film also provides a great deal of optimism and humor, as the three young men explore the technological marvels of the strange new land in which they find themselves living: food that comes prepackaged from a freezer, staircases that move up and down seemingly of their own accord, hot and cold water that comes flowing out of a tap, light that appears at the command of a switch. One of the boys even admits to never having "seen" electricity before moving to America, and he worries over whether he will ever be able to master its use. But all is not roses and soft mattresses for the three men when they arrive in the U.S., for they must also work hard, establish themselves as members of their communities, and adjust to some of the "peculiarities" of American culture, such as a marked tendency towards suspicion and a lack of friendliness on the part of some of the people they meet. And, as with virtually all people who move to an alien yet economically advantaged society, they must cope not only with the loss of deeply-ingrained cultural traditions but a feeling of guilt for those they've left behind.

Yet, thanks to John, Daniel and Panther, "God Grew Tired of Us" becomes much more than a mere curiosity, a mere fish-out-of-water tale for the amusement of the Western elite. Through lengthy interviews, the three men provide a rich and thoughtful commentary on their lives, their experiences, their values, their goals and their aspirations. And though they struggle mightily with the psychic scars left by the traumas of their past, through their own inner strength and commitment - and never a hint of self-pity - they not only persevere to go on and make something of their own lives, but they are able to turn their personal tragedy into a force for Good, inspiring others in their neighborhoods to join them in raising America's consciousness about the atrocities still occurring in that corner of the globe. And when, after three years in America, two of them are already making plans to go back to their homeland in the hope of bringing positive change to the region, we come to understand just how powerful a force commitment and caring can be in this world.

After immersing yourself in "God Grew Tired of Us," you may never look at your own life - or the place you occupy in the world - in quite the same way again.

By all means, don't miss this one.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A paean to the human spirit

9/10
Author: Howard Schumann from Vancouver, B.C.
4 June 2007

Like college students after exam grades have been posted, boys in the U.N. refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya, gather around a wooden board to look for their names on a stapled piece of paper. Finding them means a chance for a new life. Not finding their name means more waiting and hoping. Christopher Quinn and Tommy Walker's documentary God Grew Tired of Us chronicles the odyssey of members of the Dinka tribe of Sudan who emigrate to America after years of hardship in a refugee camp in Kenya, some of the survivors of the people that have come to be known as the Lost Boys of Sudan. They are part of what remains of 27,000 Sudanese boys who escaped from their civil-war ravaged country in 1983 and walked more than one thousand miles over a period of five years, first to Ethiopia and then to Kenya in search of relief from government oppression and civil war.

The subject matter may sound depressing, but in the hands of Quinn and his team who spent more than four years in the project, the result leaves us feeling good about humanity. Though there is little historical background about the civil war or its causes and only a few words about how the Muslims in the north attacked the Christians in the south and threatened to kill or maim all underage boys, the film is not about the past but about the future. Produced by Brad Pitt and narrated by Nicole Kidman, God Grew Tired of Us centers around three boys who were given the opportunity to come to the U.S. after years of struggle for survival.

The boys are John Bul Dau, Panther Bior, and Daniel Abul Pach, all handsome, articulate, and highly motivated. Panther and Daniel end up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and John goes to Syracuse, New York, two of twenty-three states who accept the Sudanese Lost Boys. We get a real sense of what they are up against the minute we see them boarding a plane for the first time. No one bothers to tell them that butter is a spread and not to be eaten whole. When shown their new apartments in their new environment, they are amazed that they each can sleep in a single bed with a mattress and are wide-eyed when shown how to use electricity, garbage, and toilet facilities.

The first trip to the supermarket is another perplexing occasion. When shown a donut covered with sprinkles, one justifiably asks whether or not this is food. They are told that in the West, they don't have to cook potatoes but can eat them out of a paper bag labeled as chips but they are not told that it contains little but empty calories without a hint of nutrition. The film flies by in less than an hour and a half and we only scratch the surface of the problems that arise during their first year in their new country but their growing sense of loneliness and cultural isolation and their economic exploitation is not glossed over and we often wonder if perhaps coming to America was not the best idea.

John has to get up at 4AM to be driven to a factory job one hour away and to wait for two hours in the cold before the factory even opens. Others work two or three jobs, lamenting the fact that they never can see their friends. They wonder aloud how a society can function when everyone lives in fear of their neighbor, but no answers are forthcoming. What is astonishing is their mental toughness in pursuit of their goals and the film shows their efforts to attend schools, build a support community for other Lost Boys in the States, and make enough money to visit or provide help for their families and friends in Africa.

God Grew Tired of Us is a paean to the human spirit that avoids sentimentality and brings us closer to what is truly important in life: closeness to family, knowing who we are, remembering where we came from, and a desire to help others. We feel good about these boys and the opportunities they have received but wonder about the lives of those left behind - other refugees and lost boys and girls around the world whose stories would probably not be as commercially viable. "Everything has an end", says John Bul Dau in celebrating his new surroundings, yet for millions of others the end is not in sight.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Please go see this film today!

10/10
Author: bella-77 from United States
16 January 2007

The future of the film depends on the initial attendance. I went on Saturday to the LA showing. This movie should be shown in every school. I took a 13 year old and she loved it. There are a few scenes that were hard to look at with starving African children...most of the staging was to give you a glimpse of what these boys went through. We can't comprehend and they didn't try to make the focus negative. This is an inspiring film about human dignity, human nature and people that know they are here for a reason. The lazy American High School student needs to wake up to this kind film and dream about making more of them. The film is beautifully and simply narrated by Nicole Kidman.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Sundance winner touches your heart

9/10
Author: lastliberal from United States
27 September 2008

Lost your job? House in foreclosure? Wife/husband left? None of these things can come close to what happened to thousands of young boys in Sudan after the Muslim North started to eliminate the Christian South.

Darfur is not an imaginary place. It is where millions have been killed and raped and driven from their homes in the interests of oil and minerals.

Children see their parents killed before them and their whole families wiped out. They are really too young to understand what is happening, but it will come back to haunt them later.

Thousands of young boys from 5-13 marched a thousand miles, mostly without food and water to escape. The 13-year-olds had to lead and bury the dead. Imagine burying your friends at 13.

12,000 finally settled in a camp where they were basically just awaiting death. After 10 years, some of the boys got a chance to go the the U.S. This is their story. Imagine Africans transported to New York and Pennsylvania and other places without the basic knowledge of how to turn a light on and off, or how to use a shower. Imagine their astonishment on their first trip to a supermarket.

We follow three of these men as they settle in, get jobs to help their families and friends back in Africa and to repay the U.S. for their care until they got work visas. It is touching, funny at times, and a sad reminder that this war is still going on and nothing is being done.

Anytime you feel sad about your life, just pop this in the DVD player.

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