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

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

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.