The First Grader Synopsis
An 84-year-old Kenyan (Oliver Litondo) fights for the right to obtain an education.
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Movie Reviews

Critic Ratings


Charlotte Observer

By Lawrence Toppman
I have never seen elementary schoolers more passionate about education than the ones I met at a school in rural Kenya, not far from the...
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The Hollywood Reporter

Chadwick strikes a perfect balance between humor and tragic gravity, and the result is that an unknown story seems certain to stir the...
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The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

By Rick Groen
This is potentially compelling, but truncated flashbacks are far too crude a mechanism for exploring not only the intricacies of that...
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San Francisco Chronicle

By Amy Biancolli
For all of its brutal flashbacks and heavy-handed devices, The First Grader works best when it works quietly.
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Orlando Sentinel

By Roger Moore
Never graduates to the uplifting tale it sets out to be.
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New York Daily News

By Joe Neumaier
Director Justin Chadwick ("The Other Boleyn Girl") shows admirable restraint bringing this true story to the screen, and Litando does much...
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Entertainment Weekly

By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Plays more like a teaching tool than a dynamic drama.
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New York Post

By V.A. Musetto
Too bad the script is predictable at every turn.
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Boston Globe

By Mark Feeney
You marvel all the more at Litondo's and Harris's performances, considering how much claptrap Ann Peacock's script requires them to put up...
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Washington Post

By Michael O'Sullivan
It's heartwarming. But the film never really takes fire.
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The First Grader

By Luna_ movie
I just wanna tell you, this is a movie, a real one and a must see movie. As an african I felt so proud of this movie with all its realism. Dont miss it Plan to watch it, it is worth....

The First grader

By myinta
Excellent! I have been to Kenya many times since 1970. This film rings true. Go see it....

The first grader

By movieloverpl
This movie really touched on the struggle that still goes on in Kenya. I learned that no matter which group is holding down another group, people continou to try to keep each other down. In this case...

The First Grader

By splinter1
Excellent movie. The children were priceless and Oliver Litondo and Naomie Harris were effective as the student and the teacher. Brought home the idea that we change people and their prejudstices...

The First Grader

By justforthefunofmovies
This is an amazing, heart wrenching and heart felt film - teaching the importance of freedom of education for all....

Great Movie

By hotfuzz
Very entertaining and thought provoking drama...


By mds0089
This movie was deeply intense and will awaken every emotion you have. It's based on a true story, which I love, because you learn about history and events that have occurred in other parts of the...

Charming and good lesson on persistence...

By mqdean
I will see again with my teenage kids to show them a piece of the world they have never seen and a piece of history come to life through the mind of an aging warrior. GO SEE....

Inspirational and emotional

By inkongirl
I took my kids (10 & 13) to see this movie. It was such a powerful experience for all of us. I think they now understand and appreciate the opportunities they have and realize how difficult it can...

Fun movie - a bit simple, but a good flick

By pedro2m
I suspect the true life story had more twists and turns - the plot just seemed to simplistic. But overall an enjoyable film....

More Info

Rated PG-13 | For Some disturbing violent content and brief nudity
What Parents Need to Know
Common Sense Media says Inspiring true story has some violent wartime flashbacks.
Read the Common Sense Media Review