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

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

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.