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'He Named Me Malala' - Movie Review

'He Named Me Malala'
U; Documentary
Director: Davis Guggenheim
Cast: Malala Yousafzai, Ziauddin Yousafzai, Toor Pekai Yousafzai
Rating: 2.5/5

The world’s youngest Nobel laureate, Malala Yousafzai, is the subject of this mostly superfluous documentary by Davis Guggenheim. The young women’s activist from Pakistan who endured severe beatings and several more attempts on her life for her outspoken advocating of equal education rights is an inspiring figure – no doubt about that. But Guggenheim, despite his noble intentions, doesn’t manage to get beneath the surface and try to present a portrait of a real person. Instead what we get is purely superficial profiling that merely ends up as an assemblage of well know facts that have made it to the headlines of major newspapers and television screens world over.

Watch the trailer of 'He Named Me Malala'

Yousafzai’s story is no doubt inspiring any which way you see it - whether it’s her memoir “I Am Malala” or this film based on it. She was shot in the head at age 15 while riding home on the school bus, managed not only to survive but also thrive with a fearless zeal, challenging the very forces that tried to exterminate her unflinching spirit and zest for life. That brand of heroism has already become legendary. But the Yousafzai story has a context to it. Her family life and the subtext of her conditioning though documented here, doesn’t dig in deep enough. While her charisma is seen and felt, the workings of her young 18 year old mind are not. Is she going to allow the world of expectation weighing down her young shoulders to strangulate her inner desires? What are they...beyond the public projection of ‘equal opportunity for educating the girl child?’ The documentary fails to go there or to the many inner secrets of her complex thought mechanisms.

Veteran documentarian Guggenheim, who won the Academy Award for 2006’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and has critically acclaimed works like “It Might Get Loud” and “Waiting for Superman" behind him, appears to have lost focus in the brouhaha over a young girl’s much revered super-heroics. And that wasn’t really expected!

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