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Review: He Named Me Malala

October 9, 2015

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

He Named Me Malala Poster

Allowing the profoundly important message of its title subject to ring through in every scene, He Named Me Malala is an inspiring documentary about the power for change, that helps illustrate the importance of education and women’s rights.

Forced to leave Pakistan with her family, after being shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking out against the bombing of schools and the need for gender equality in classrooms, Malala Yousefzai has become one of the most inspiring and powerful voices of our generation.

An outspoken advocate for educating young girls, and the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, an award which she shares with her father, Malala Yousefzai is a compelling figure.  Although Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim’s approach to telling her story feels overly conventional, and it’s somewhat bafflingly structured as a fractured narrative as if we didn’t know she survived the attack, this is still an important and undeniably affective mainstream documentary.

Some of the film’s best and most cinematic moments come from several nicely animated interludes that give an almost mythic feel to her backstory.  Through charming scenes of Malala messing around with her brothers and playing games with her family, the film also shows that she is still just a typical teenager, and in many ways this makes her story and message hit home even more.  Doing a fine job of adapting the bestselling memoir of the same name, and making it accessible for the widest possible audience, He Named Me Malala should be required viewing in every school.

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