The verdict is in: He Named Me Malala tugs at the heartstrings of viewers.
Directed by Davis Guggenheim, the film is an intimate portrait of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, who was targeted by the Taliban and severely wounded by a gunshot when returning home on her school bus in Swat Valley.
Emma Watson interviews Malala
The then 15-year-old was singled out, along with her father, for advocating for girls’ education, and the attack on her sparked an international outcry. She miraculously survived and is now a leading campaigner for girls’ education globally as co-founder of the Malala Fund.
The film shows us how Malala, her father Zia, and her family are committed to fighting for education for all girls worldwide. It gives us a glimpse into this extraordinary young girl’s life – from her close relationship with her father who inspired her love for education, to her impassioned speeches at the UN, to her everyday life with her parents and brothers.
We bring to you excerpts of reviews from some of the top film critics to help you decide if you should watch He Named Me Malala or give it a miss.
From The Guardian:
The title of Davis Guggenheim’s uplifting account of Malala Yousafzai’s heroic battle for female education and empowerment offers a strange twist on that of her inspirational memoir, I Am Malala. Blending sumptuous animation with harrowing news footage and enchanting domestic interviews, Guggenheim builds a portrait of a nurturing family who are at once reassuringly ordinary yet utterly extraordinary.
Let your children be Emma Watson, let them be Malala
This documentary serves as a stirring tribute to an indomitable young woman whose story doesn’t really need a lush Thomas Newman score to pluck at your heartstrings and inspire your devotion.
Davis Guggenheim's documentary filmed over 18 months looks beyond Malala the activist to her life in Birmingham and we see a self-assured, warm, intelligent and compassionate teenager, at ease with her family and proud of her Pashtun culture with her father Ziauddin as prominent a figure as his famous daughter but what nags is the sparse reference to the Taliban, fundamentalism and the family's relationship to their fellow villagers in the Swat Valley.
From The New York Times:
The film is primarily interested in spreading her message and seems pitched to a young audience. Nothing wrong with that. But it only occasionally delivers the kind of unguarded moment that makes you feel as if you’re getting beneath the media image, and it is not at all interested in discussing broader issues raised by Malala’s fame. The film doesn’t particularly examine the price of Western superstardom. And just how her fame is affecting things back home in the Swat Valley of Pakistan, if at all, remains unexplored, as does the uneasy question of how much heritage you have to give up to become a Western media darling.
Three years after Malala was shot, UN highlights education challenges
From The Washington Post:
Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim has made an affectionate and moving portrait of Malala that also paints her as remarkably brave, poised, funny, articulate, smart, self-aware, resilient and curious. It is when Malala talks about changing the world that you actually might start to believe that this kid, who is still only 18, could someday make a difference. If there’s a quibble with the film, it’s that it glosses over what it’s like to grow up in the glare of worldwide celebrity. Guggenheim is clearly in awe of her. By the end of He Named Me Malala, you may be, too.
Beautifully shot.. Intimate.. All those good things. If you've seen it already tell me your favourite parts! X #HeNamedMeMalala— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) November 6, 2015
What an amazing film. An amazing young woman. An Amazing story. #HeNamedMeMalala— sxpnce ⚜ (@sxpnce) November 8, 2015
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