The First Grader (12A)

Starring: Naomie Harris, Oliver Litondo
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The Independent Culture

Some films are made for all the right reasons and still cause you to grind your teeth.

Justin Chadwick's earnest drama is based on the true story of an old man triumphing against the odds. When the Kenyan government offers free education, 84-year-old Maruge (Oliver Litondo) enrols at the local primary school, to the delight of headteacher Jane (Naomie Harris), less so to the authorities. Interleaved with this are flashbacks to Maruge's horrific experience during the Mau Mau uprisings in the 1950s and its brutal suppression by the British. The poignancy of this is sadly undermined by leaden pacing and a script that emphasises and reaffirms in the manner of an educational video. Light and shade don't get a look-in.