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Thursday, August 11, 2016

He Named Me Malala movie and book review

Here is an example from a powerful story and book turned into a less successful film.  The following is from my movie review web site.

Movie Title:    He Named Me Malala
Grade:   B-

Rating:  PG-13, 87 minutes

In a Nutshell:   This true story is one that needs to be told.  

Unfortunately, the film is underwhelming considering the importance of the subject material.  It is informative, but not engrossing enough to create raving fans or high box office sales.

The film is a powerful educational tool for teenagers and even comes with free discussion guides for teachers to use in a classroom setting.  #WithMalala   Hopefully, teens, especially girls, will be inspired and motivated to make a positive difference in the world.

Uplifting theme: 
  • Stand up for what is right.  Stand up for rights.
  • Countless unsung heroes have paid the price for freedom.
  • “It’s better to live like a lion for one day than to live like a slave for a hundred years.” – Malala
  • “It is so hard to get things done in this world.  You try and too often it doesn’t work, but you have to continue and you never give up.” – Malala
  • “Change matters.” – Malala’s father
  • Education is power.  Malala’s father stated, “When you educate a girl, it transforms her.  It transforms our world.”  So true.
  • “There’s a moment when you have to choose whether to be silent or to stand up.” - Malala

Things I liked:
  • It was smart to use animation sequences to separate the past from the present, as the film jumps back and forth in time.  
  • Malala’s father is truly remarkable. The film explains that his family pedigree only included the names of men for 300 years, until he was the first to add his daughter’s name to it. He has such a better way of seeing the world than is common in his culture.  He has done a lot for women’s rights and forward thinking.
  • It’s impressive to hear the profound things Malala says and then remember that she is still a teenager.  She received the Nobel Peace Prize and was listed in the Top 100 Most Influential People by Time magazine.
  • I thought it was interesting that, although Malala would be killed if she returned to Pakistan, she still wanted to go back.  She said, “I miss the dirty streets.”
  • There are so many positive lessons to be gleaned from Malala’s story and life.  Her father stammers sometimes and she said that she was impressed with his persistence and never let his speech impediment slow him down.  She suggested to him that he simply choose another word when he stumbles on a particular word, but instead, he persists until he finally gets it right.  Impressive man.

Things I didn’t like:
  • Sometimes it’s hard to understand Malala’s accent. 
  • It took me awhile to get into the movie, but by the end, I was glad I spent the time to learn more about Malala and her story. 
  • The beautiful home in England where Malala’s family now lives and all of the media coverage make you wonder who it was  who pushed for all of the attention and how much money was made from her story.  Some people have been critical of Malala’s father, saying that he orchestrated all of the coverage in order to gain money and notoriety.  When confronted with that criticism, Malala stated, “My father gave me the name Malala.  He did not make me Malala.  I chose this life.”  Good answer.
  • It feels more like a documentary than a feature film.
  • Malala’s little brother talks about how she slaps him every day.  She explains it’s a loving gesture.  I understand the filmmakers were trying to show her playful relationship with her siblings, but considering the film is about violence, I wouldn’t have highlighted that interaction. 
  • A clip shows Malala saying, “I believe there is no difference between a man and woman,” but then immediately says, “A woman is more powerful than a man.”  Huh?  While Malala says some very insightful things in the film, that inconsistent logic shouldn’t have been included.
  • There isn't very much humor, so the movie can feel very heavy after awhile.

Interesting and inspiring lines:
  • “Dear sisters, don’t be fooled by superstitions.” – radio host who inspired Malala as a young girl
  • “School was my home.” – Malala   (Her father was a school teacher, so she spent many hours playing and studying in the school where he taught.)
  • “I think she’s not independent and free because she’s not educated.” – Malala said this about her mother
  • “I think she’s addicted to books.” – Malala’s brother said this about her.  Later, she explains “One book can change the world.”
  • “I saw her completion in me and I saw my completion in her.” – Malala’s father said this about when he first met his wife.
  • “God is not that tiny.” – Malala
  • An interviewer asked Malala’s father who shot her.  He answered, “It was not a person.  It was an ideology.”
  • In speaking about the Taliban, Malala stated, “They were not about faith.  They were about power.”
  • “If my rights are violated, and I keep silent, I should better die than live.” – Malala’s father
  • “Let us pick up our books and our pens.  They are our most powerful weapons.” – Malala
  • “A conscience exists in the world that extends beyond all boundaries.” – Malala’s father

  • Young children may be bored.  The topics are serious, political, and often dark.
  • There is a scene that describes when Malala and some of her classmates were shot on a school bus.  You see some blood on the bus, which could be frightening for young children.
  • There is some live footage of past events, but most of the violent history is shown in animation.
  • No profanity.