May 17, 2011
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Director: Deborah Gardner-Paterson
Writer: Rhidian Brook
Producers: Mark Blaney/Jackie Sheppard/Eric Kabera
Starring: Emmanuel Jal/Eriya Ndayambaje/Roger Nsengiyumva/Sanyu Joanita Kintu/Sherrie Silver/Yves Dusenge
BBFC Certification: 12
Duration: 88 minutes
Many family movies contain the usual squeaky clean messages such as “help a friend in need”, “be yourself” and “go after your dreams”. Africa United isn’t any different to this but it does also tackle some very serious subjects such as Aids, child soldiers, teenage prostitution and safe sex. Africa United is about three Rwandan children who want to see the World Cup and so walk over three-thousand miles to see it only to end up in the Congo, where they continue their journey and along the way meet two teenagers who tag along. This movie has two themes: a light theme that would work on younger kids and a darker theme that would work for teenagers and adults. The lighter theme shows friends taking on a massive journey to help a friend achieve his dreams of becoming a footballer and playing in the World Cup with a few funny results. The darker theme suggests heartbreak, tension and drama in the form of diseases, prostitution and poverty and shows the dangers to the audience. The very first scene you are introduced to in Africa United is Dudu, one of the main characters, promoting safe sex whilst blowing a condom up, wrapping it in a bag and then tying string around it to make a football, how many times have you ever seen something like that in a family movie?
Africa United has some great performances from the cast, particularly from the five children, who clearly have a lot of talent. The young actors and actresses were great as their characters as we see a funny and serious side to their characters and the way they portrayed them in the more serious scenes were quite emotional and moving. Africa United does have a couple of great scenes where the messages in the movie really tell the audience what it’s really like in Africa by showing the good side and the bad side. With a decent script, brilliant performances, great timing and messages that make an impact, Africa United is a great family movie that balances the lighter, humorous tones and the darker, emotional tones very well.
Africa United is rated a 12 certificate, which is quite surprising considering some of the themes in the story but it’s done in such a clever way that it makes the audience more aware of the serious issues. Obviously, this isn’t a movie for younger children to see but it’s okay for those who are about the age of ten or older. There’s quite a few messages in the movie, some mature than others, that will make a bit of an impact on the audience. Overall, everything was good about Africa United and there’s not many bad points about it. It’s a good family movie that shows the ups and downs of Africa and the journey of five kids wanting to see the World Cup.