Eleven-year-olds from around the world speak their minds in the charming and uplifting docu “I Am Eleven.” Carrying her camera through 15 countries, debuting Aussie helmer Genevieve Bailey displays a terrific knack for connecting with her subjects on topics ranging from religion to romance and the environment. Coming off a long and successful fest run, this simple and effective crowdpleaser has gathered tremendous B.O. and critical momentum since its two-screen local release July 5, and is now occupying 18 venues. TV programmers looking for a “Seven Up”-type winner should check it out.
Choosing to make a film about the age she remembers as the happiest of her young life, Bailey travels to destinations including Thailand, Japan, India, Morocco, Sweden and New Jersey, perfectly capturing that time when childhood has almost ended and adulthood not quite begun. Most inspiring is the optimism of her interviewees and their almost universal tolerance of racial and religious differences, from funny Billy in England and his views on marriage to wise-beyond-his-years Remi in France (“I am a citizen of the world”). Docu’s only slight blemish is some repetitive testimony. Tech aspects are fine.