DRAMA; 1hr 47min
STARRING: Sophie Okenedo, Sam Neill, Alice Krige, Tony Kgoroge
In the prejudice-riddled South Africa of the 1950s and ’60s, young Sandra Laing (Ella Ramangwane; Hotel Rwanda’s Okendeo as an adult) is sent to an all-white boarding school by her Afrikaner parents (Neill and Krige). Sandra is dark-skinned. Her light-skinned parents, who have black ancestry, are determined that she be perceived as white. So fierce is their conviction that Sandra believes it, and the racist reaction she encounters at school is a major shock to her perception of who she is.
To grasp Sandra’s journey to self-acceptance is to inhabit the stifling apartheid mindset of the time-especially given that this righteous, from-the-heart account from director Anthony Fabian is based on Sandra’s actual story. Railroaded by her parents’ misguided love, and by the black man with whom she becomes involved (Kgoroge), Sandra is compelled to forsake them all and strike out on her own terms. Her load hangs heavy, and the road is very long, but Okenedo’s simmering radiance holds the patchwork of woes together.