Cast: Malala Yousafzai, Ziauddin Yousafzai
Director: Davis Guggenheim
Duration: 120 minutes
Now showing at Cinema Magic Metroplex Mall Naalya and Century Cinemax Acacia Mall Kisementi
Before presenting an award for best documentary, Oprah Winfrey talked about how movies let us escape, for a while at least. Then she mentioned that there is one category of film that will not let you do this. It brings reality right to your face; that is what documentaries do since they usually follow real events with little to no embellishment.
He Named Me Malala is just that kind of movie. You know how stories inspired by their memoirs usually star someone else and so you can console yourself that it was not really them who went through whatever the film highlights? You won’t get any of that from this one. Malala and her family star in the film and tell us the story.
The movie is about Malala Yousafzai, activist for education for girls, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the girl who refused to be intimated by the Taliban. It follows her life through being shot in Pakistan and being transferred to the UK for treatment. It also follows her family fitting in to life in Birmingham.
While documentaries do not usually get wide attention nor people streaming cinemas for them, He Named Me Malala has attracted attention for reasons beyond its plot or cinematic pull. Do not get me wrong, Davis Guggenheim brings his game in the movie – he has two Academy awards to his name after all.
However, the star of the movie is definitely Malala. People are watching it because she captured hearts way before this film was shot. That charisma shines through in the film. We get a peek into who she is and the fact that her sense of humour has stayed intact despite what life has thrown at her. The relationship between her and her father also gives the film the kind of heart that induces more than a few awwws…
However, and this may be because a movie made for cinema has to have a certain degree of mass appeal, there are some times in the film where you feel that the director is trying to make Malala bigger than she is. This is something Malala herself points out through the interviews with journalists who make her out to be a sort of superwoman. She graciously illustrates that she has no divine power in her, and that all it takes is for someone to step forward and do something – the stuff inspirational people say.