You’ve probably heard the name Malala Yousafzai before. As the youngest ever Nobel Peace Peace Prize winner, this teenager has spent much of her young life speaking out about the state of women’s education in Pakistan, both within her home country and around the world. At just 15, Malala was targeted and shot in the head by the Taliban for going against their ideals, but survived only to go on and speak on an international level about the importance of education to women and children. Her story is one of true inspiration and unimaginable struggle, but behind it all is the story of a normal teenage girl.
Directed by Davis Guggenheim, aka the man who brought us acclaimed documentaries such as Waiting for’Superman’ and An Inconvenient Truth, He Named Me Malala is a look into the ordinary life of this extraordinary girl and her family. Guggenheim explores not only Malala’s home life in England (where she now resides due to Taliban death threats forcing her to stay out of Pakistan), but also the events that ultimately lead to the Taliban’s attack. Through gorgeous illustrations and images, we see what Malala’s life was like in Swat Valley, Pakistan, and what happened there to cause this bright, young girl to risk her life and speak out about her rights.
He Named Me Malala is a hugely important film for everyone to see. Many of us so often get caught up in our own lives and our own problems, that we lose sight of the bigger picture. There are so many things in life that we take for granted, and it’s only when you see people risking everything they have to get those things, that you realise how truly lucky you are. Davis Guggenheim is the master of bringing these global issues to the surface, and his latest film is no different. Well constructed, visually stunning and heart wrenching to boot, He Named Me Malala is yet another achievement he can add to his list.
But filmmaking aside, at the centre of this film is a simply incredible family. While Malala’s father, Ziauddin, is a story within himself and so clearly bursting with love and pride for his amazing daughter, Malala is one-of-a-kind. It’s so rare to find a person with so much goodness in their heart, particularly when she has seen some of the worst atrocities this world has to offer. She never dwells on the struggles she has been through – in fact, she doesn’t even like to talk about it – but, she will never stop fighting for what she believes in.
Both tragically devastating and impossibly uplifting, He Named Me Malala is worth the emotional investment. An absolute must-see for those who consider themselves as citizens of this global village we call home.