He Named Me Malala is the moving true story of a teenage girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan for advocating women’s education. She was severely wounded but miraculously survived the Taliban attack and Malala Yousafzai went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, becoming the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate ever. She is a human rights activist, fighting for women everywhere to be given access to a good education and continues to speak at major international events relating to these issues. She has met with world leaders from all over the globe and released a book about her story in 2013.
The documentary starts off with a bit of backstory to Malala’s name. Weirdly, Malala was actually named after a woman named Malalai of Maiwand who was a warrior from from Afghanistan that died for her cause so it’s almost as if she were destined to do great things from birth. He Named me Malala is very well made mixing interviews with Malala’s family with anecdotes from her life as well as factual information about the attack made on her and all the good things she has done in this world.
There are moments of happiness mixed with scenes that depict that harsh reality of her terrible plight. Sometimes Malala is in front of the camera, sometimes she has voiced over scenes and there are these beautiful animated sequences throughout that help to illustrate what they could not get footage of. The accompanying music is also lovely and adds an extra layer of poignancy to this extraordinary tale. It is not until the very end of the documentary that Malala really addresses how much she has suffered in her life. She does not speak openly about the hardships she has had to overcome and is a very positive young lady, which is astounding, given how much she has been through.
Malala is a very funny, very genuine young girl. It is so easy to forget that she is only 18 years old today and she has already been through, and achieved, so much. This documentary lets you see a side of Malala that you cannot get from her political speeches or her book. I’m sure people who already know her story have been wondering what this girl’s character is really like and what sort of person she is, and I think they’d be surprised at the answer.
It’s heartwarming to see that the girl that stood up to the Taliban is still an ordinary teenager at heart, a girl who goes to school, loves to read and sees her friends. It was really sad, however, to hear Malala say that she does not yet believe that she fits in in Britain. She finds it difficult at school and is uncertain as to whether her classmates are interested in her story or passionate about the same things as her. We must not forget that Malala grew up in a culture very different to the one that we are accustomed to and how difficult it must have been for her and her family to be uprooted and start a new life in the UK. There is nothing about her story that isn’t inspirational and the more I found out about this teenage girl, the more impressed I became.
He Named Me Malala gives us an inside look into Malala’s life and home, from Pakistan all the way to Birmingham. The camera captures Malala interacting with her family as she would normally and you see the squabbles, the inside jokes and her relationship with her father. The latter is the most moving part of this documentary. Malala’s relationship with her father is proof that good parenting is of vital importance to a young person’s development and Malala certainly wouldn’t be the amazing young girl she is today without the love, support and guidance of her father. He too is a political activist, speaking freely about what he blieves in despite the risks. However, Malala emphasises that she chose her own life, her father did not choose it for her, but it is evident that she has been greatly influenced and inspired by him.
All in all this a fantastic documentary that exceeded my expectations by far. I thought this would be a very factual documentary that was more informative than moving, but it is impossible not to be touched by Malala’s story. She is a truly inspirational young girl and a true role model for girls today. She stood up for what she believed in and when punished for it, she stood back on and kept on fighting.
When I first started university, I paid big money to be a part of The Oxford Union which welcomes influential speakers from all over the world to speak and I sincerely regret to going to see Malala’s talk when she visited Oxford. This girl is two year’s younger than me and has suffered and overcome more than I probably ever will in my entire lifetime. Malala continues to be an activist for women’s education and will no doubt go on to do many other great things over the years to come.
Malala is now a student at Oxford University and studies PPE at Lady Margaret Hall.
If you’re interested in finding out more, catch the global broadcast of He Named Me Malala this coming Monday:
He Named Me Malala
Global Broadcast of He Named Me Malala
Monday, February 29th
8 pm est/7 pm cst
Have you heard of Malala’s story before? What do you think about it?
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*This is a sponsored post on behalf of Review Wire Media for 20th Century Fox. I received information to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.