MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 12 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 250 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...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 31 titles
created 27 Nov 2011
 
a list of 25 titles
created 06 Oct 2012
 
list image
a list of 41 titles
created 04 Jan 2013
 
a list of 48 titles
created 24 Apr 2013
 
a list of 22 titles
created 1 month 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 | 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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.2/10 X  

Set amongst the hills of Rwanda, FINDING HILLYWOOD chronicles one man's road to forgiveness, his effort to heal his country... See full synopsis »

Directors: Chris Towey, Leah Warshawski
Stars: Eric Kabera, Nicole Kalisa, Rodrigues Karekezi
The Diplomat (2013)
Documentary | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 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
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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 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
Black Gold (2006)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An in-depth look at the world of coffee and global trade.

Directors: Marc Francis, Nick Francis
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

This documentary emphasizes that people have strong feelings about the mullet - very popular hair style among lesbians, race car drivers and others. The general attitude about the mullet is... See full summary »

Director: Jennifer Arnold
Stars: Mathew Bose
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A documentary about the Enron corporation, its faulty and corrupt business practices, and how they led to its fall.

Director: Alex Gibney
Stars: John Beard, Tim Belden, Barbara Boxer
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A documentary on a Palestinian farmer's chronicle of his nonviolent resistance to the actions of the Israeli army.

Directors: Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi
Stars: Emad Burnat, Soraya Burnat, Mohammed Burnat
Documentary | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A racially-charged criminal trial and a heart-rending love story converge in this documentary about Richard and Mildred Loving, set during the turbulent Civil Rights era. Long Way Home: The... See full summary »

Director: Nancy Buirski
Stars: Jane Alexander, Lindsay Almond Jr., Edward L. Ayers
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

After viewing this provocative documentary, you will never look at Wikipedia the same way. Filmmakers Scott Glosserman and Nic Hill engagingly explore the history and cultural implications ... See full summary »

Directors: Scott Glosserman, Nic Hill
Stars: Richard Branson, Vint Cerf, Ed Chi
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A phenomenal discourse on why poverty exists when there is so much wealth in the world. A must see for anyone wanting to understand not only the US economic system but the foundations of today's global economy.

Director: Philippe Diaz
Stars: Martin Sheen, Amartya Sen, John Perkins
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.

Plot Summary | 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

Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.18 (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