A Small Act

"Very Good"

A Small Act Review


This multi-layered documentary couldn't be more inspirational if it tried. As it shows the ripple effect of an act of charity, we begin to understand that anything we can do might actually help.

Chris grew up in Kenya in a mud house, but even though he was the top student he couldn't stay in school without sponsorship money through a Swedish charity.

He always wondered about this sponsor, a schoolteacher named Hilde Back. So after studying human rights at Harvard then going to work for the UN, he set out to find Hilde, whose sponsorship set his entire life in motion. He'd even named his educational foundation after her. Once he finds her, he takes her back to Kenya, where she's overwhelmed by the community's reaction.

Meanwhile, Chris' cousin Jane was also sponsored, which helped her escape the pregnancy cycle that starts for most girls by 15. With Chris, she runs a village school that helps children like Kimani, Caroline and Ruth, who are eager to make the most of their education but struggle with their family situations. Most people in this part of the world just stay home all their lives, trapped in poverty without the opportunity to study or work. Education is a life and death issue here, so watching them wait for grades is agonising.

As is watching Kenya dissolve into post-election violence.

With a gentle, organic pace, the film is beautifully photographed, with rich colours and an emphasis on the expressive faces. There's a bit of padding with scenic montages and arty slow-motion shots, accompanied by a floaty music score, all of which makes us think it could have been a tighter one-hour doc.

But the various elements of this story weave together in a way that's genuinely moving.

And Hilde's story is wrenching as well. She grew up Jewish in Germany and was sent to Sweden to escape the Nazis. But her parents killed in the camps. And it's her simple observation that gives the film its centre: there's so much need in the world that you wish you could do something. And the best thing about this film is that it vividly shows us how easy it is to make a real difference.



A Small Act

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 88 mins

In Theaters: Friday 1st January 2010

Distributed by: HBO Documentary Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 14 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Patricia Lee, Jeffrey Soros

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.