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“One of the 50 Coolest Websites…they simply tell it like it is” – TIME


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The First Grader | 2011 | PG-13 | - 4.6.3

Based on the true story of a Kenyan villager (Oliver Litondo), a 1950's Mau Mau freedom fighter, who fights for his right to go to school for the first time at the age of 84 and thus inspires the world with his struggle. Also with Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge and Sam Feuer. Directed by Justin Chadwick. [1:43]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - Men are forced to strip off their shirts, we see their bare chests and backs, and one man is briefly seen being hosed down, and his shadowed bare buttocks are seen from the side; his bare crotch also briefly seen, in shadow. The bare backs and chests of men are visible on multiple occasions as men go shirtless. An elderly man removes his shirt in front of a group of men and women and he displays his bare back and chest. A portion of an elderly man's chest and back are visible as he washes himself with a bucket. Children are seen shirtless and the bare chests and backs of boys are seen. A woman is seen wearing a tube-top style top.
 A man and a woman are seen lying in bed and the man's arms are around the woman. A woman puts her head on a man's lap, the man mentions "making babies" with the woman and then kisses her on the cheek. An elderly man experiences a flashback of him holding hands with a woman. A man tries to touch a woman's face, and she pushes his hand away. A boy playfully thrusts his hips as he dances in a group.
 A man tells another man that his wife is "running around" on him and is a "prostitute" and the man later confronts his wife, who denies the story.

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VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - An elderly man experiences violent flashbacks multiple times: He envisions himself as a younger man being dragged from a house, his hands bound, along with a woman holding a child (his wife and son), the crying child is pulled away from the woman and he must watch as two officers hold a gun to his wife's head, we hear three gunshots and see the woman's body fall to the ground (no blood is visible, but it is implied that the woman is dead); he also experiences a vision of himself being dragged from a house, he imagines the sounds of a door being beaten down, his wife being dragged out, and we see a woman being beaten in the background and children crying; and he experiences a flashback to a hut burning and we see a woman being dragged from a hut and the blurry outline of her being dragged across the ground along with another woman.
 We see a man's hands and legs bound, and hanging upside down from his feet as a guard whips his back; we later see the man as an elderly man, who removes his shirt and exposes deep scars on his back from being whipped.
 An elderly man experiences a flashback where he panics and stumbles to the ground as he envisions a man sharpening a pencil and shoving it into his ear; we see the shadowy vision of a man standing next to another man and twice hear the sound of tissue being punctured but see no blood or the pencil entering his ear.
 Several men sneak into a house, and we see one of them kneeling on top of another man, face-down on the ground as two other men steal rifles from the house; the thieves run from the house as guards fire shots at them, and we see one of the men fall to the ground, presumably after being struck (no blood is visible).
 Eight men approach a school house, they bang on the building with sticks and throw rocks, and a woman inside the school house tells the children to take cover; an elderly man tells the men to leave, and then hits two of the men in the chest, shoulders and back with a walking stick until the men leave the area.
 In a schoolyard, we see a boy kicking and shoving another boy until an elderly man approaches them, and shouts at the boy to stop and pulls them apart. A man grabs a woman's wrist and twists her arm; she pulls her arm away.
 Several children rush toward a locked fence, a group of adult men and women on the other side of the fence try to open it, and the children throw rocks, sticks, shoes and cups over the fence, hitting the adults as a man shouts at the children.
 A group of men are seen being led at gunpoint with their hands held over their heads as guards escort them into a prison camp.
 An elderly man jokingly tells a woman that he had kept children in line by threatening to "clobber them with my [walking] stick." An elderly man shouts at a woman, saying that his wife and two children had been killed during a civil uprising many years previously. A woman tells a man that an elderly man's family had been killed during a civil uprising. A man shouts at a woman, saying that a group of people had killed their own people. A man shouts at a man and a woman. An elderly man shouts at a woman about a man's behavior and attitude. A man shouts at a group of children and they scatter. An elderly man tells a group of children that he had been a prisoner. A man tells an elderly man to go home and "rest in peace" and the old man responds that he is not dead yet.
 Several men and women holding small children shove papers across a table, and we hear shouting and a woman attempts to calm them. Several men chant an oath that they will prevent people from taking their lives and land, and are willing to die to uphold that oath. A man reads aloud a letter for an elderly man; the letter apologizes for unfair treatment of the elderly man when he was interred as a prisoner during a civil uprising, including apologizing for torture and false imprisonment for almost ten years. We see text that explains that a revolution in 1952 took place when the native Africans living in Kenya started an uprising against the British and that over one million Africans were killed or injured.

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LANGUAGE 3 - 4 mild obscenities, name-calling (stupid, loyalist, old man with one foot in the grave, senile, poor old boy, useless, negative, rude, vultures), exclamations (bloody, shut up)..

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SUBSTANCE USE - An elderly man calls four men drunkards, four men ask an elderly man to come have a beer with them, and we see a man drinking from an unidentified bottle.

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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Mau Mau uprising in the 1950's, Kenya's independence, right to education, colonialism, tribalism, racism, illiteracy, jealousy, corruption, being a powerful mentor.
MESSAGE - It is never too late to learn. We must learn from our mistakes.
CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.



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