Emmanuel's Gift

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Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah was born with a deformed leg in Ghana, a country where some babies born with birth defects are either euthanized or abandoned. In Emmanuel’s case, he was raised by his single-mom till she died when he was a teenager. At that point, the industrious young lad started a shoeshine business, earning about $2 a day till he saved enough to buy a bicycle.

Next, he pedaled clear across his homeland, spreading a message of tolerance while inspiring other handicapped kids to believe that they could achieve anything they put their minds to. So unfolds Emmanuel's Gift, an uplifting biopic about a boy blessed with such a sense of dignity that he refused to accept the second-class status of a life in the streets which his society ordinarily mandated for those with his affliction.

Oprah Winfrey narrates this moving documentary which chronicles two years in the life of the very likable Emmanuel. We see him demonstrate the savvy to have himself fitted for a prosthetic limb, but he then starts a foundation to help hundreds of other cripples get wheelchairs, overdue education and general respect.

By the end of this biopic, not only has Emmanuel earned the audience’s admiration, but he has made a convincing case against any sort of discrimination based on infirmity. For this film makes it clear that, if encouraged and embraced, even long-discarded pariahs can be taken off the social scrap heap, be resurrected, and enjoy productive lives.

Excellent (4 stars)
Rating: Unrated
Running time: 80 minutes
Studio: First Look Pictures

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