Aroview: In a remote Bougainville village, isolated by a rebellion over self-determination and mineral rights, the only remaining white man (Hugh Laurie) is prevailed upon to teach the village children. The only tools at his command appear to be a gentle and unassuming nature and a copy of Dickens’ 'Great Expectations' which he reads to the class every day.
The horrors of war can’t be held at bay for long, though, and Laurie’s sharpest pupil, Matilda (Xzannjah Matsi) and her family are caught up in the violence and retribution? - ?with only the mild-mannered teacher and his book for protection. I suspect this is actually two films? - one for people who read Lloyd Jones’ book and one for those of who haven’t. Not better or worse, just different. I was taken by surprise by the turns the story took, confronting turns for sure but ultimately necessary. Adamson has crafted the story so that it provides legitimate emotional heft rather than the manipulated heart-string tugging we usually get and Laurie is just brilliant, constantly dialling down and making us look more closely. ~ Dan Slevin
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