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SUE’S REVIEWS: HE NAMED ME MALALA

 

12141490 457742411079097 2161927502228013929 n“He Named Me Malala” is an 87 minute PG-13 Rated documentary directed by Davis Guggenheim starring Malala Yousafzai (herself), Ziauddin Yousafzai (himself- father) and Khusal Yousafzai (herself-mother).

This is the true story of the young Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai, who was shot at age 15 by the Taliban in 2012 on a school bus because of her outspoken advocacy for the education of girls. The movie depicts the steps leading up to this horrific event and the aftermath, including Malala’s historic speech at the United Nations.

David Guggenheim won an Oscar for the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” (2006). He spent two years filming this movie in Birmingham, England where Malala’s family currently resides. “He Named Me Malala”, inspired by Malala’s 2013 book “I am Malala”, is sobering, informative and inspirational at the same time. I was familiar with the basic facts of her story regarding the horrific shooting but not with the events that led to it. I also did not fully appreciate her courage, intelligence and determination before seeing this documentary. An animated prologue tells the story of Malala’s namesake, a martyred female Afghan warrior who fought against the British invasion of Afghanistan. Animated cartoons appear throughout the movie and tell Malala’s story along with interviews and archival photos/news footage. I was not aware of her deep emotional bond with her father who also is an activist for the education of girls even at the risk of being maimed or murdered.

I have some minor criticisms about the movie-making technique which tells the story in a disjointed fashion at times. There is an absence of dates (including the shooting) presented at the beginning. I feel like the director assumes that all viewers are familiar with Malala’s story but that may not be the case; a prologue would have been helpful to introduce it. Her Nobel Prize in 2014 is briefly mentioned in in the closing credits.

This movie, about a truly amazing and delightful young woman, has something to offer to everyone. When you hear Malala (now 18 years old) speak about changing the world, she makes you believe that is a possibility. She is a beacon of light in an often dark world and I applaud Guggenheim for bringing her story to the big screen. I give “He Named Me Malala” a 7.0 on the ABBONDANZOMETER (Scale of 1-10).

 

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