As part of Kindness Week, this little 25-minute documentary is scheduled for three showings at the Fine Arts. An admirably straightforward documentary, the film details the — amazingly successful — efforts of 7-year-old Ryan Hreljac of Kemptville, Ontario, to have a well built in Uganda. Ryan at first mistakenly thought that he could get the well built for $70; upon learning the true figure — $2,000 — he determines to raise that money, and does so. He then goes on to accomplish even more, and is treated to a trip to the Angola Primary School in Uganda to see the well that bears his name.
Director Latita Krishna knows she has a special “star” in young Ryan and does nothing to get in the way of his taking center stage, allowing his youthful enthusiasm to convey the film’s simple message about the possibility of accomplishing just about anything if there’s sufficient determination to do so. Ryan’s Well is not great filmmaking, no, but it’s remarkably effective at achieving its aims.
– reviewed by Ken Hanke