Film Review: He Named Me Malala

malalaMalala Yousafzai has risen to prominence as a proponent of free speech, the right for girls to get the same education as boys, and for getting the Taliban out of power in Pakistan among other countries after the Taliban shot her in the head on her way to school. Davis Guggenheim’s newest documentary follows the Yousafzai family after the shooting and documents their move from Pakistan to England, and their struggle to fit in while Malala travels the world speaking to political groups and government officials. The film also gives us a background on the Taliban’s rise to power in Pakistan and the Yousafzai’s continual involvement as part of the resistance to the Taliban. All of this builds to Malala’s speech to the United Nations and her becoming the youngest person to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 17.

He Named Me Malala is a touching and engaging documentary about an extremely strong-willed individual but also about the family that is her network of support. Much of the documentary features footage of Malala traveling and speaking publicly but the most effective moments come when the other members of the Yousafzai family discuss their situation and their family’s back-story. The talking head interviews are also augmented with stylish animated sequences that help to illustrate back-story and important events.

He Named Me Malala is an important documentary and bound to be the must-see documentary of the year. It opens in theaters Friday, October 9.

He Named Me Malala (2015); Director: Davis Guggenheim; Starring: Malala Yousafzai, Ziauddin Yousafzai, and Khushal Yousafzai

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