He Named Me Malala

Incredibly brave

He Named Me Malala is the new documentary about Nobel Peace Laureate and female education activist Malala Yousafzai directed by Davis Guggenheim (Waiting For Superman and An Inconvenient Truth).

The film kicks off with Malala and her family in the present day and it’s surprising at first that we’re getting such an intimate look at the private life of the Yousafzai family when we’ve predominantly seen them in press conferences and award speeches up until now.

They’re happy and healthy and living in the UK, where they’ve been located since the brutal attack on Malala in her home country of Pakistan in 2013.

Her brothers introduce her as a loving but sometimes naughty sister who plays tricks and then we meet Zia, the “He” that’s referred to in the title, and he gives us the proud father speech but it’s also representative of those of us in the audience. She’s a modest character herself and it’s endearing to hear her father gush about the incredible achievements she’s made.

Coming into the film I had a limited knowledge of the story of Malala and her family and one of the cleverest things the filmmakers do is to unfold the story slowly and in a non-linear fashion.

We have the footage of the family these days at home, at school and on charity missions in Syria and Nigeria but we also have animated recreations scattered throughout and older news footage to tell the story.

It’s an inspiring story on the whole but even more so because as the film progresses we come to realise that we’re not just seeing the story of an incredible and incredibly brave activist but also of a well-adjusted, intelligent and beautiful young girl.

I really hope that there’s a groundswell of audience support for this film because it’s a really worthwhile story that’s been expertly told.

- Nathan Kearney

Movie Details

Title: He Named Me Malala
Director: Davis Guggenheim