He Named Me Malala – a movie review by Roz Tarszisz

November 11, 2015 by Roz Tarszisz
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After the Taliban tried to kill her in 2012 Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai emerges as a leading advocate for children’s rights and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

Director Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman) uses archival footage and interviews to illustrate the insidious invasion of the Taliban into the lives of the inhabitants of the Swat Valley, Pakistan. The gradual overtaking of everyday life, loss of freedoms, and the naming and shaming on public radio of anyone who had displeased the invaders is just the start. Those who speak out against them are murdered. By the time schools were reduced to piles of rubble, life for the Valley’s inhabitants had changed forever.

Malala enjoys a close relationship with her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, then a teacher,who protested against the outrageous occurrences. When she starts an anonymous blog advocating girls’ education they both knew there would be trouble but nobody imagined a mere girl would be a target.  After she was shot in the head, the attack on her (and two of her classmates) sparked an outcry around the world.

Flown to the UK for medical treatment, she miraculously survives and she and her family now live in Birmingham, England. The camera follows her playing games with her brothers, attending school and giving speeches at the United Nations.  Malala is now a leading campaigner for girls’ education globally as co-founder of the Malala Fund – its goal is to enable girls to complete 12 years of safe, quality education.

I liked the use of simple animation to explain the legend of Malalai, Afghanistan’s heroine who rallied her people against the British invaders to repel them in 1880. It suits the subject who is steadfast in her determination to spread her message. Malala denies that her father made her make her stand, and insists she was self-motivated.

“My father only gave me the name Malalai; he didn’t make me Malalai” she says.

Malala turned 18 this year and plans to continue her education. When asked what she would have done had she been an ordinary girl with ordinary parents she replies that she would have been married with two children by now.

A little repetitive, I felt it could have been cut without losing its message.

88min PG  Out November 12


Directed by Davis Guggenheim




One Response to “He Named Me Malala – a movie review by Roz Tarszisz”
  1. Lynne Newington says:

    Yes who could forget this little girl reared in a political inviorment influenced by her activist father and at an impressional age…..that made her a target for Taliban terrorist that almost cost her her life.

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