He Named Me Malala

I chose the documentary film, “He Named Me Malala” to critique this week for several reasons. In this country, people take for granted that a free education is available to everyone. For many, education is something to endure, not something to cherish. The concept that terrorists can prohibit students from getting an education is as foreign to our thinking as to be absurd, but in the Swat Valley of Pakistan, that is exactly what happened when the Taliban invaded. They forbid girls from going to school. One 10 year-old girl was brave enough to stand up to the Taliban and was shot in the head for her mutiny. We don’t think that can ever happen in the United States but if we get lazy and take education for granted; it can. We have to realize that education is a privilege not a right.

“He Named Me Malala” is a documentary film that examines the events leading up to the Talibans’ attack on the young Pakistani school girl, Malala Yousafzai, for speaking out against the Taliban’s prohibition of girls’ education. The film is based on Yousafzai’s book “I am Malala.” Malala miraculously survived the vicious attack and is now a leading campaigner for girls’ education globally as co-founder of the Malala Fund

The documentary is a very powerful film that relates the remarkable journey of this extraordinarily intelligent, brave young Muslim woman from her initial outspoken remarks about the Taliban’s ban to her acceptance of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

“He Named Me Malala” begins by relating the fairy tale of the original Malala, a young Afghanistani woman who leads her people into a fight against invaders, but is killed in the battle. Malala’s father, a teacher and founder of Malala’s school named his daughter Malala after the fairy tale character.

Malala’s two brothers steal every scene they are in. They are cute, funny, typical younger brothers who like to ham it up for the camera and tease Malala.

Academy Award winning director David Guggenheim directed the movie. He is best known for directing “An Inconvenient Truth” about Al Gore’s campaign to make the issue of global warming a recognized problem worldwide. There is a lot of buzz about this film garnering him another Academy Award for best documentary.

“One Child, One Teacher, One Book and One Pen Can Change the World” is the powerful message that the film leaves for the viewer.

“He Named Me Malala” opens Friday at Landmark’s Plaza Frontenac Theatre.

The Telegraph’s contributing movie critic Mary Cox lives in Wood River and is a member of the St. Louis Film Critics Association, who also occasionally writes about film-related topics, studied film at the University of California, Los Angeles, and worked in L.A. with various directors and industry professionals. She can be reached at mlcwriter@charter.net.