FILM: The First Grader (12A)

Inspired by a remarkable true story, The First Grader is a life-affirming drama of triumph against adversity set in 2003 Kenya, directed by Justin Chadwick.

Eighty-four-year-old village elder Maruge (Oliver Litondo) listens with interest to reports of a government initiative granting free primary school education to anyone who needs it. Having recently received an important letter from the government, which he is unable to read, Maruge turns up at his local school to demand his education so that he can better himself. The teachers turn him away, arguing that the education is intended for children only and not an infirm, old man. However, Maruge persists and with the backing of sympathetic head teacher Jane (Naomie Harris), the former Mau-Mau fighter overcomes prejudice and hostility to gain the skills he needs to read his important letter.

By Damon Smith

Released: June 24 (UK, selected cinemas), 103 mins