He Named Me Malala

by | Oct 23, 2015 | 0 comments

A Confused Documentary that Is Saved By Its Subject

This was a story that needed to be told, and those stories are in excess over the world, but Hollywood doesn’t seem to be able to find them. In the end the much-ignored documentary branch ends up bringing much more truth to our homes than most of dramatic or comedic films do.

He Named Me Malala is the story of Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old Pakistani girl who in 2012 was shot by the Taliban for saying that girls should be able to go to school. Malala survived the attack and now lives in Birmingham, England with her family.

The film jumps around in time a little too much. We go back to Malala’s life before the shooting through a very effective use of animated drawings, but we also jump back to the present quickly and then go back to the past again, and then even further to her parent’s past, so that you’re left a bit dizzy in the first few minutes of the film. This tiring structure takes us through the first 50 minutes of the film, which are extremely interesting and captivating. We see the history of her family, Malala’s relationship with her brothers, and especially the special connection she has with her father. 

As I said before, this was a necessary film, because of the incredibly heroic character that Malala is and should be for billions of people. The film is effective in grounding her and making her seem like the vulnerable 17-year-old girl she is (at the time of filming). We see her quarrel playfully with her brothers, struggle with physics tests (I especially related to that), and confessing her crushes on Roger Federer and Brad Pitt.

Malala is an incredibly interesting character, and her message of women equality should be heard all around the world. But this film in particular didn’t do a good job of transmitting it well. Since it jumps around so many different timelines it not only loses its audience, it loses itself as well. Because of that I think that the film becomes incredibly redundant so that such an important message for the world becomes an annoying rant in the audience’s ears.

Nevertheless the finale is strong and Malala herself as a person has so much charisma and pull that she breathes some sense into an otherwise confused documentary.  








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