Movie Review: Uproar


Being a Kiwi who grew up in a rugby obsessed house, it was a no brainer that I’d go see Uproar. It didn’t disappoint. The movie is perfect for anyone who’s ever felt like they don’t fit in.


Uproar the movie is set in Dunedin, New Zealand as it prepares for the 1981 South African Springbok Rugby Tour. The country is not divided about whether the tour should go ahead. The streets fill with anti-Apartheid protests.

The story is shown through the eyes of 17-year old Josh Waaka (Julian Dennison) who has his own issues, being the only Māori student at St Gilbert’s Catholic school for men. When not in class he hides out in the school library. One thing he is not is good at rugby, unlike his older brother Jamie (James Rolleston) who once played for the national team, before an injury killed his rugby career. A shell of his former self, Jamie lays around the family home, while mum Shirley (Minnie Driver) is loving but absent, spending most of her time working to keep the family afloat, after the death of her husband.

One day one of Josh’s teachers (Rhys Darby) asks him to audition for the school drama class. Having spent so much time in the library it’s clear Josh has an affinity with the written word. He’s a natural. It’s not long before the teacher suggests Josh audition for the national drama school. To get in he must perform two pieces. As they work in secret Josh starts to see the activism in his community differently. Josh, who has never felt like he fits in anywhere, is inspired by the protests to find his own voice, embrace his community, and bring him closer towards his whakapapa, (Māori heritage) whānau (family).

  1. Uproar is a tender movie about being yourself, finding your reason in life and learning to “wear your story with pride”, lessons we can all learn;
  2. The movie also teaches us that when everyone is shouting, no one is listening;
  3. If you loved Dennison in any of his other movies, you’ll be thrilled to watch him spread his acting wings in this one. Wonderful actor. He’s on my list of actors I always try to see;
  4. So too Rhys Darby who is always dependable.

For more information go to Luna Cinema

6.5 Awesome
  • overall 6.5
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