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Set in a mountain village in Kenya the film tells the remarkable true and uplifting story of a proud old Mau Mau veteran who is determined to seize his last chance to learn to read and write - and so ends up joining a class alongside six year-olds. Together he and his young teacher face fierce resistance, but ultimately they win through - and also find a new way of overcoming the burdens of the colonial past. Written by
[addressing her 200 students on her last day]
My mother never went to school, and she said to me, 'You must love education, so that you can do better than me'. I am your mother and I am telling you, you must love education, so that you can do better than me, better than all of the teachers.
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Glorious acting by the leads, a charming yet affecting screenplay, taut direction and above all stunning cinematography - all making for a gem of a film.
Due the nature of the story (daww, an 84 year-old guy in Kenya learning his ABCs with all the little kids...) some scenes skim dangerously close to being too cute and sentimental but thankfully the harrowing background to the story and gutwrenching depiction of conflicts in the past, along with the personal tragedy at the heart of the story make this such a moving film. Both Naomie Harris and Oliver Litondo deliver phenomenal performances, the latter in particular I think deserves Oscar consideration.
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