Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch First Trailer for 'Roots' Reboot Watch First Trailer for 'Roots' Reboot Watch: Sri Lankans of African Descent Fight to Keep Their Culture Alive in 'Kaffir Culture' Watch: Sri Lankans of African Descent Fight to Keep Their Culture Alive in 'Kaffir Culture' Taraji P. Henson Will Topline Film Based on Story of Black Women Mathematicians Who Worked for NASA During the Space Race Taraji P. Henson Will Topline Film Based on Story of Black Women Mathematicians Who Worked for NASA During the Space Race Watch Double Academy Award-Nominated 1948 Docu-Drama 'The Quiet One' (Emotionally-Scarred Black Boy Rehabilitated) Watch Double Academy Award-Nominated 1948 Docu-Drama 'The Quiet One' (Emotionally-Scarred Black Boy Rehabilitated) Enter The New Normal Writing Contest From Issa Rae's ColorCreative & Project Greenlight Digital Studios Enter The New Normal Writing Contest From Issa Rae's ColorCreative & Project Greenlight Digital Studios Missed It Last Night? Watch 'A Ballerina’s Tale' in Full Now Missed It Last Night? Watch 'A Ballerina’s Tale' in Full Now Ava DuVernay Wanted for Two (2!) Major Sci-Fi/Fantasy Studio Projects (UPDATE: Lupita Nyong'o May Star in One of Them) Ava DuVernay Wanted for Two (2!) Major Sci-Fi/Fantasy Studio Projects (UPDATE: Lupita Nyong'o May Star in One of Them) Tonight: Nelson George's Misty Copeland Doc - 'A Ballerina’s Tale' - Premieres on INDEPENDENT LENS Tonight: Nelson George's Misty Copeland Doc - 'A Ballerina’s Tale' - Premieres on INDEPENDENT LENS Now Streaming on Netflix: Award-Winning 'Sand Dollars' (Dominican Republic's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Entry) Now Streaming on Netflix: Award-Winning 'Sand Dollars' (Dominican Republic's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Entry) Jamie Foxx Will Play Little John to Taron Egerton's Robin Hood in "Progressive" Take on the Legend Jamie Foxx Will Play Little John to Taron Egerton's Robin Hood in "Progressive" Take on the Legend James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral Watch the Electrifying First Trailer for Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Watch the Electrifying First Trailer for Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Madonna's 'Blonde Ambition' Dancers Tell Their Own Stories in New Documentary 'Strike a Pose' Madonna's 'Blonde Ambition' Dancers Tell Their Own Stories in New Documentary 'Strike a Pose' Watch Episode 1 of PBS' New Civil War-Set Drama Series 'Mercy Street' + On-Set Visit Watch Episode 1 of PBS' New Civil War-Set Drama Series 'Mercy Street' + On-Set Visit LeToya Luckett, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Andra Fuller Star in New TV One Comedy Series 'Here We Go Again' LeToya Luckett, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Andra Fuller Star in New TV One Comedy Series 'Here We Go Again' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Best Child-Actor Performances On Film (Survey)

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act June 17, 2011 at 8:37AM

Earlier today, I attended a press screening of a beautiful yet tragic South African drama titled Life, Above All - a film we've covered a bit on S&A, including a review from MsWOO who saw it the London Film Festival last year (read her thoughts HERE).
23

Earlier today, I attended a press screening of a beautiful yet tragic South African drama titled Life, Above All - a film we've covered a bit on S&A, including a review from MsWOO who saw it the London Film Festival last year (read her thoughts HERE).

The film, directed by Oliver Schmitz, opens in limited release in the USA, on July 15th, so, those of you in New York and LA will be able to check it out for yourselves.

I'll be writing my own review of the film soon, but I was immediately struck by an aspect of it that inspired this post. Specifically, the performance by the star of the film, 13-year old Khomotso Manyaka (although she was likely 11 years old when the film was actually shot in 2009). She carries the entire film; I don't think there's a single scene in the almost 2 hour movie that she isn't in. So its success depends almost entirely on her performance, and whether you believe her or not. I did. It's a solid performance for a kid, given the weight she's asked to carry here!

Several others agree with me apparently, as the film reportedly received a 10-minute standing ovation when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year, and was shortlisted by the Academy Awards committee in the Best Foreign Feature Film category; it also received acclaim at the Toronto Film Festival, Dubai Film Festival, and others. And it won 6 Awards at the South African Film And Television Awards (SAFTA’s), including Best Lead Actress in A Feature Film by the 13 year-old star.

And what's even more impressive about all this is that, this was her very first film!!

So, it all got me thinking... child actors. I had to think hard to remember the last time I watched a film that centered almost entirely around a kid, told from their POV... and that's made for adults. What can I say? I guess most of the films I watch tell stories primarily about the lives of adults, with children as peripheral characters; and it's not necessarily a conscious thing; it just is. I'm an adult, so I'm drawn to adult stories.

But maybe you folks can help me out here, and school me on some titles. My question for you all is, in light of all that I've said, give me your short lists of films with stories that revolve around children (of any color), in which, from your POV, the child actors give really good performances that define the film.

As for what age I'm thinking of when I use the word "children," let's go with pre-teens; So, 12 and under.

Have at it! And by the way, if you haven't seen it yet, here's the trailer for Life, Above All:


Shadow & ActNewsletter