First Act Review: Well-meaning but Trope-ridden Docu-series on Child Actors

Rahul Desai

First Act is Easy to Like

The six-part docu-series has the right ingredients. An affecting subject: It explores a culture of lost childhoods, borrowed ambition and the fickleness of big-city fame.

A Sense of Perspective

The documentary examines the sweaty complicity of parents in an all-or-nothing ecosystem. It follows the journeys of Gujarati, Bengali, Maharashtrian, North Indian and Muslim families across class and age brackets.

Living a Parent’s Dream

First Acthas no qualms unfolding like a passion project. The makers have a stance and stand by it. As a result, some of the interviews speak volumes through the way they're cut and framed.

It's The Currency of Survival

These moments haunt so casually that the specificity of the series often acquires a universal tone. Parents projecting their incomplete dreams and frustrations onto their kids is not just the price of greatness here.

The Documentary is Single-Minded in its Indictment of Human Nature

It scans the length and breadth of a system that normalizes – and rewards – the grammar of abuse. It reiterates the exploitative wheel of art and show-business.

A Lot of it Feels Staged and Directed

As though actual people were recreating feelings and moments from their own lives. It’s not a fly-on-the-wall look at these journeys. The camera makes its presence felt without embracing the identity of a hybrid docudrama.