A 12-year-old girl (Khomotso Manyaka) fights prejudice when her family is ostracized by a South African community.
" This is a heartening story of resilience told without false uplift. It is hopeful without being mawkish, realistic but not oppressive. "
" A well-meaning but ploddingly earnest after-school special... "
" The movie stares clear-eyed at a world where any kind of hope seems like a dream. "
" There is less in-your-face grit in Cape Town-born director Oliver Schmitz's vision for this film than there is a careful pacing of somber revelations. "
" "Life, Above All" earns the tears it inspires. The film is about deep human emotions, evoked with sympathy and love. "
" In such a bleak story, the redemptive ending seems rushed and unconvincing, but director Oliver Schmitz has sent us a timely dispatch from a forgotten corner of the world that is honest above all. "
" "Life, Above All," a deeply moving South African drama about AIDS and ostracism, manages to be, paradoxically, both austere and uplifting. "
" Newcomer Manyaka, who as Chanda carries the family's burdens on her slender shoulders, is compelling -- she always seems to be leaning forward, ready to walk head first into her next battle. "
" The script groans beneath a mass of symbolic winking and declamatory exposition that has the unfortunate effect of turning the villagers into credulous simpletons, ready to blow with any wind that carries them. "
" A wrenching and powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of a remorseless disease and societal prejudice. "
" The fluidity of Schmitz's technique reflects a world in which tragedy and uplift are inextricably commingled. "
" This is a modest film, and an affecting one. "
" That tragedy is the real point of "Life, After All." And if the film makes people think about that problem, that's a good thing. "
" Perseverance is the theme of "Life, Above All," a drama that is deeply affecting, if also overwhelmingly bleak. "
" Nicely splits the difference between ethnographic realism and melodramatic uplift. "
" Does something that few painful dramas accomplish: It tells a tale of resilience without platitudes about the triumph of the human spirit or without false promises about an unclouded future. "
" If [its] allegorical underpinnings blur the film's edges, the performances bring it back into focus. "
" A downer that too often resorts to melodrama. "
" The director and his splendid cast assure that this tale about a strong little girl fighting to keep her family alive and together has both high art and a big heart, audience appeal and gut impact. "
" Manyaka gives the character a gaze so true it could only open hearts and minds. "
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