What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although this docudrama -- which is based on the true story of the oldest recorded student ever to attend primary school, 84-year-old Kenyan villager Kigani Maruge -- is uplifting and touching, the flashbacks to his past as an imprisoned member of the Mau Mau insurrection are disturbingly violent. The worst of it isn't shown directly (scenes instead focus on close-ups or other people in the room), but it's clear what's happening. And Maruge is shown being tortured (strung upside down, pierced in the ear with sharpened pencils, and forced to watch as his family is harmed), and others are killed. Other than the violence, there's nothing teens can't handle, but the flashbacks will be too intense for tweens. Because of its historical elements, the movie provides a good opportunity to discuss issues related to education and colonialism.
- Families can talk about the movie's message about the importance of literacy and education. Does age have anything to do with wanting to learn? Why does Ms. Obinchu give Maruge a chance when others have written him off as an old man who's about to die?
- How would the movie have been different if the director hadn't shown the violence Maruge endured earlier in his life? Do you think those scenes are necessary to the story?