He Named Me Malala

"Excellent"

He Named Me Malala Review


Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) creates a riveting portrait of the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai. And it's her amazing story and magnetic personality that holds the attention, rather than the way Guggenheim reorders her life to punch the emotional buttons. Malala is a genuinely inspirational figure who has spent her entire life trying to make the world a better place. And she's still only 18.

The film explores her childhood in Swat Valley, northern Pakistan, where she was named by her father Ziauddin after a 19th century Afghan heroine who led the Pashtun fighters against British interlopers and was shot in the process. As a school teacher, Ziauddin instilled in Malala a love of education, so when the Taliban began to close schools to girls, she began speaking out, first anonymously in a blog and then bravely expressing herself in public amid threats of violence. And the Taliban responded by trying to kill her. She was shot in the head, but survived and fled to England with her family, where she recovered and continues to travel the world speaking eloquently about issues relating to education and refugees.

In its fly-on-the-wall segments in England, the film reveals Malala to be a fairly typical teen, engaging in cheeky rivalry with her younger brothers Kushai and Atal, who tease her about her crush on Roger Federer. And she also has a very strong bond with her father and her mother Toor, who has a moving story of her own. Intercut with this are scenes of Malala meeting world leaders including Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II, plus journalists like Jon Stewart. Clearly this young woman was a gifted speaker even before she was propelled onto the global stage, passionately discussing the right to education and the truth about her faith. "Islam teaches me humanity, equality and forgiveness," she says. "The Taliban aren't Muslims. They're not about faith, but power."

Guggenheim assembles this with a terrific range of footage, stills, interviews and some lovely animated sequences. Oddly, he shuffles the chronology around. Rather that telling Malala's story in a straightforward way, he cuts back and forth, and only in the end gets to the hideous attack that propelled her into the global stage. This feels rather manipulative, especially with Thomas Newman's tear-wrenching score. But the story would have been just as powerful without this cinematic tinkering. And Malala has a lot to teach us about what it means to be part of a global community.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for He Named Me Malala here:




He Named Me Malala

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 88 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 22nd October 2015

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Participant Media, Imagenation Abu Dhabi FZ, Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 69%
Fresh: 46 Rotten: 21

IMDB: 5.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: , , Walter F. Parkes

Starring: Malala Yousafzai as Herself, Ziauddin Yousafzai as Himself, Toor Pekai Yousafzai as Himself, Khushal Yousafzai as Herself, Atal Yousafzai as Himself, Mobin Khan as ER Doctor (uncredited)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

Advertisement
A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.