'He Named Me Malala' review: Unmissable!

'He Named Me Malala' review: Unmissable!

Source: General

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Saturday 07 November 2015

Movie Title

'He Named Me Malala' review: Unmissable!


Davis Guggenheim

Star Cast

Malala Yousafzai, Ziauddin Yousafzai, Toor Pekai Yousafzai

There is something to be said of a film that humanizes a world hero so disarmingly. Thehero we're talking about is Malala Yousafzai, who, despite threats by the Taliban,continued promoting education for girls in the Swat Valley, Pakistan, and was shot inthe head for it. That was 2012. Now, she describes the whole assassination attempt inthe film through a diagram, as if it happened to someone else.

Far from getting silenced, the incident gave her a new voice, and the world a new hero.The documentary shows us Malala's struggle for survival in the hospital, thousands ofpeople and children praying for her, and her slow road to recovery.

Through this film, we also see a very interesting aspect of Pakistan's history. It tells ushow the Taliban became so powerful and how it steadily won over the locals. How, atfirst, women's faces were scraped off billboards and hoardings, eventually leading totheir demand that girls be kept away from schools.

Today, the teenager goes all over the world, talking to people, consoling them, andasking tough questions of world leaders. The world's youngest Nobel Peace PrizeLaureate, Malala accepted the prize on her 16th birthday.

It's utterly charming when her brothers call Malala, featured in Time Magazine's '100Most Influential People in the World' list, as the naughtiest girl in the world, andcomplain that she's "so violent". The family, based in England now, shares an easycamaraderie and many moments of laughter.

But under all that is a severe longing for one's home country. Malala's mother yearns forhome and Malala herself says she misses the streets, river, and childhood friends fromher hometown.

Masterful, award-winning documentarian Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, Waitingfor Superman) uses some conventional and obvious tools in putting his point across. Likesomeone commenting that Malala is attacked Islam, with a visual of her prayingdevoutly. One wishes Guggenheim had scraped the surface and delved deeper intoYousafzai's frame of mind. There are hints of nightmares and there is a lingeringsadness, but we don't know how far her heart and mind have healed from the incident.Malala is very guarded about her innermost feelings, and prefers to wear the imageexpected of her.

The documentary shows us that it's difficult for the teen to adjust in a new country. Wesee her giggle often, as her brothers inform us of her escapades or when she'swatching a cartoon film. But she transforms into something quite different when shemakes official visits or gives a heartfelt, powerful speech.You see the empathy in her eyes when she encounters people in pain. She travels allover the world to share this pain with people. And you know this is an extraordinaryperson, as we witness how comforting her presence is to those in grief. It's almostmagical!

She has a highly evolved reaction to her own story as well. She claims to feel no angertowards those who shot her, saying that she understands that it is the ideology and notthe person that tried to kill her.

The documentary gets its name, as it was her activist father who chose the nameMalala, after an Afghani female warrior named Malalai. In naming her, perhaps hesealed her fate? You get an emphatic 'no' from Malala. 'He named me Malala; he didn'tmake me Malala. I chose this path,' she states.

Malala is able to look beyond herself and tells us that she is not one person, but many.Indeed, as in this unassuming teen many find solace, inspiration and encouragement.

Watch this documentary for an insight into her extraordinary and hugely inspiring life- itis truly unmissable!

Rating: 4.5 stars

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