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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Emmanuel’s Gift (review)

It sounds like something we’ve seen a million times before: Athlete overcomes hardship to triumph, inspiring those around him to achieve more than they ever thought they could before. But the story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah of Ghana is extra poignant not just because it’s true but also because of the refusal of directors Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern to pander to easy sentiment or to place Yeboah on a pedestal of superhumanity. Born into a traditional culture that views disability as a sign of familial shame, Yeboah was already pushing himself athletically even before his withered leg was replaced by a high-tech prosthetic thanks to the intervention of a charity organization dedicated to helping disabled sportsfolk. But he really took off — as an athlete and an inspiration — after his bike ride across Ghana with his new leg helped change the image of the handicapped in that nation. Powerful and moving, this is a sports movie for the whole family to enjoy… and to take heart from.

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MPAA: rated G

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
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