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Sylvia Ashton-Warner develops her own teaching methods based on the emotional, personal life of the children in her classroom. She achieves wondrous results but is more than just a teacher, and in a remarkably sensitive portrayal, Eleanor David depicts her artistry, nervousness, gift for friendship, cultural isolation, and courage. Unfortunately, Firth concentrates on her passing romance with a sympathetic schools’ inspector (Terry). With tantalising glimpses of the uneasy coexistence of white man and Maori, but with little individualisation of the children or understanding of their background, this is a sympathetic biopic when it could have been something altogether more inspirational and fascinating.

By: JE

Release details

Duration: 98 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Michael Firth
Screenwriter: Michael Quill, Ferdinand Fairfax, Michael Firth
Cast: Eleanor David
Nigel Terry
Tom Wilkinson
Mary Regan
Martyn Sanderson
Terence Cooper
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