He Named Me Malala

Like his 2006 Oscar-winning “Al Gore explains global warming” treatise, An Inconvenient Truth, Davis Guggenheim’s latest documentary is a forceful and exquisitely made piece of advocacy journalism. But while that earlier film had its share of doubters, detractors, and head-in-the-sand deniers, his inspiring portrait of Pakistani teenager and 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai is impossible to take issue with. Named after a storied Pashtun girl who became a folk hero after leading her people against British invaders, the 15-year-old became something of a living martyr herself in 2012 when she was shot in the head by Taliban thugs for daring to suggest that women in her native Swat Valley be allowed to receive an education. Through intimate interviews with the shy and funny Malala and her family, Guggenheim shows us how surprisingly ordinary this extraordinary young woman is (now living in England, she turns scarlet when the director catches her Googling images of Brad Pitt and Roger Federer). When she’s not crisscrossing the Third World crusading for the rights of women, she bickers with her brothers, does her homework, and visits a battery of doctors still trying to erase the scars (at least the ones we can see) of her horrible nightmare of violence. The Taliban may have robbed Malala of her home, her childhood, and the movement of one side of her face, but now she has something she insists is far more important: a cause and a voice. A

He Named Me Malala
2015 documentary
  • Movie
  • 87 minutes