We Shall Overcome Review

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A schoolboy in Denmark in 1969 challenges the oppressive school system after being inspired by Martin Luther King and an open-minded teacher.


Set in the late 1960s, Niels Arden Oplev’s rites-of-passage saga was partially inspired by his own youth. But while it may prompt more sensitive adolescents into reappraising attitudes, this formulaic Euro kid-pic lacks grit and guts.

Newcomer Janus Dissing Rathke impresses as the 13 year-old battling to come to terms with prejudice and brutality after he finds himself victimised by his sadistic headmaster. But, having been sparked by the ideas of Martin Luther King that he learns from a hippy teacher, Rathke’s rebellion convinces even less than the clumsy period atmosphere.

Good intentions rarely make for great cinema and this attempt to make 60s attitudes relevant to modern kids lacks the charisma or the ingenuity to hook mainstream audiences.