MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 6,420 this week

A Small Act (2010)

7.4
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 248 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 19 critic

A young Kenyan's life changes drastically when his education is sponsored by a Swedish stranger. Years later, he founds his own scholarship program to replicate the kindness he once received.

Director:

Writer:

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Picks: August

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they recommend for August 2014.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 37 titles
created 29 Jun 2011
 
a list of 30 titles
created 04 Aug 2011
 
a list of 48 titles
created 24 Apr 2013
 
list image
a list of 23 titles
created 7 months ago
 
a list of 37 titles
created 4 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "A Small Act" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: A Small Act (2010)

A Small Act (2010) on IMDb 7.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of A Small Act.
4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Three part documentary that shows the insight look at the history of computers, from its rise in the 1970s to the beginning of the Dot-com boom of the late 1990s.

Stars: Robert X. Cringely, Douglas Adams, Sam Albert
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A merchant banker. A failing dairy farmer. A refugee from Communist China. One risked his savings. One risked his farm. One risked his life.

Director: Simon Scionka
Stars: Peter Boettke, George Gilder, Samuel Gregg
I.O.U.S.A. (2008)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Few are aware that America may be on the brink of a financial meltdown. I.O.U.S.A. explores the country's shocking current fiscal condition and ways to avoid a national economic disaster.

Director: Patrick Creadon
Stars: Robert Bixby, Humphrey Bogart, Warren Buffett
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Four boys from Sudan embark on a journey to America after years of wandering Sub-Saharan Africa in search of safety.

Directors: Christopher Dillon Quinn, Tommy Walker
Stars: Panther Bior, John Bul Dau, Nicole Kidman
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Herb and Dorothy Vogel redefine what it means to be an art collector.

Director: Megumi Sasaki
Stars: Paula Antebi, Will Barnet, Robert Barry
Documentary | Biography | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Pat Tillman never thought of himself as a hero. His choice to leave a multimillion-dollar football contract and join the military wasn't done for any reason other than he felt it was the ... See full summary »

Director: Amir Bar-Lev
Stars: Pat Tillman, Josh Brolin, Mary Tillman
The Diplomat (2013)
Documentary | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

At the height of the Cold War, Katarina Witt became one of East Germany's most famous athletes. Trained in an ice rink that gave rise to socialist heroes, Witt dominated her field by ... See full summary »

Directors: Jennifer Arnold, Senain Kheshgi
Stars: Jutta Müller, Gaby Seyfert, Ingo Steuer
Beer Wars (2009)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A contemporary David and Goliath story that takes you inside the cutthroat world of the big business of American beer.

Director: Anat Baron
Stars: Norman Adami, Anat Baron, Roberta Baskin
Steve Jobs: One Last Thing (TV Movie 2011)
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A look at the life and career of the technology business innovator and entrepreneur.

Directors: Sarah Hunt, Mimi O'Connor
Stars: Robert X. Cringely, Bill Fernandez, Demetri Goritsas
Marwencol (2010)
Documentary | Biography | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After a vicious attacks leaves him brain-damaged and broke, Mark Hogancamp seeks recovery in "Marwencol", a 1/6th scale World War II-era town he creates in his backyard.

Director: Jeff Malmberg
Stars: Mark Hogancamp, Emmanuel Nneji, Edda Hogancamp
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim reminds us that education "statistics" have names: Anthony, Francisco, Bianca, Daisy, and Emily, whose stories make up the engrossing foundation of WAITING FOR ... See full summary »

Director: Davis Guggenheim
Stars: Charles Adam, Charles Adams, Jonathan Alter
Paragraph 175 (2000)
Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Historian Klaus Müller interviews survivors of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals because of the German Penal Code of 1871, Paragraph 175.

Directors: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Stars: Rupert Everett, Klaus Müller, Karl Gorath
Edit

Storyline

A young Kenyan's life changes drastically when his education is sponsored by a Swedish stranger. Years later, he founds his own scholarship program to replicate the kindness he once received.

Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A single gesture. Limitless possibilities.

Genres:

Documentary

Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

January 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mia mikri praxi  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.16 (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A drop of human kindness . . .
18 May 2011 | by (Birmingham, Alabama) – See all my reviews

"It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals, they seem to be absurd and impractical. Yet, I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are really good at heart." - Anne Frank

Anne Frank wrote those words while locked in an attic with her family, hiding from the Nazis who were Hell-bent on killing them. Some may have said that this idea was insane given the circumstances, but I am naive enough to think that it takes just as much energy to be nice to someone as it is to be cruel. A drop of human kindness makes just as much of an impact as a drop of malice.

I thought of Anne Frank's statement all through Jennifer Arnold's lovely documentary A Small Act which chronicles a small act of kindness by one person that besets a lifetime of joy for many other people who might have perished. The movie tells the story of Chris Mburu, a Kenyan who was born dirt poor in an African tribe. As a boy he made good grades in Primary school - which is free in Kenya - but would not have been able to attend Secondary School because his family could not afford it. Fortunately, he made good grades in Primary School and had his secondary education payed for by a Swedish woman that he had never met who donated $15 a month to pay for his education. Through this act of kindness, Mburu was able to attend secondary school where he excelled, then went on to the University of Nairobi and eventually Harvard Law. Today, he is a Human Rights Commissioner at the United Nations.

Mburu was so gratified by the woman's gift that he began a foundation in her name - The Hilda Back Foundation - to help young African children get a chance at an education. The center of the film is how Chris Mburu gets to meet, for the first time, the woman who made his life possible. Her name is Hilda Back, 85 years-old, a short woman with a kindly face and boundless energy. As a child she had to be sent to Sweden from her native Germany to escape being sent to the death camps by the Nazis. Her family would perish in the Holocaust and Back would remain in Sweden becoming a school teacher. She felt that her small contribution was an act of kindness. She never dreamed how far it would reach.

As we follow Chris' inevitable meeting with Hilde Back, we are also introduced to several children who are in Primary School, who are trying to get the grades to be able to get on a scholarship program to make it to secondary. They are Caroline, Ruth and Kimani. Their families have almost nothing and no way to simply pay for secondary school. Getting these scores means their very lives, especially for young girls in a country that offers them few choices.

As these kids end their term in Primary school they are given tests to see if they qualify for the scholarship and that makes up some of the most tense and nerve-wracking moments I have ever seen in a movie. I never thought that awaiting test scores - test scores! - could create such suspense. The kids wait to be texted the scores, and wait and wait and wait and wait. Further drama is added by the fact that, due to a presidential election, the grades will be delayed.

I had never considered anyone's education being a matter of life or death for their family. For these young people - especially the girls - this is all or nothing. Either they will succeed or they will perish in an environment that has nothing positive to offer them. I was especially worried about Caroline, who's family doesn't own any land. What options does she have if the test scores don't measure up? Their fates lie in the hands of those checking their scores. Those outcomes, I must leave for you to discover.

"A Small Act" is as touching and lovely and thrilling as any movie that I can imagine. It argues the value of a great documentary by presenting the kinds of people and events that no screenwriter could ever dream of. When Hilde comes to Kenya, she is greeted like a hero with loving arms and ceremonial garb and it is a moment more heart-wrending than anything I can remember.I don't want to sound like a feel-good greeting card, but as I watched Chris and Hilde meet, I thought of the roots of Hilde's kindness. They reached out to Chris who became a scholar, then made his mark at the United Nations working in human rights? How may people's lives did he touch? If these kids make the grades and go to college and follow successful careers, will they touch other lives? How far does a small act of kindness go? Like a ripple of the ocean, Hilde's contribution goes out and out and out. It all comes from this woman who, in spite of everything, believed that people are really good at heart.


5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
HBO canmark
Heart Breaking + filled with Hope kjwilliamslcsw
Discuss A Small Act (2010) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page