Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that Davis Guggenheim's documentary He Named Me Malala is a moving, engrossing, sometimes disturbing, but also delightful documentary about Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, an uncommonly brave teenage girl who's also a world-renowned human rights activist. The film is frank about everything that led to Malala's shooting in 2012, including the increasingly turbulent politics that fed into the event and the subsequent challenges she faced -- and continues to face -- as she moves forward. While there's no graphic imagery that directly reveals the extent of her injuries, viewers do see bloody pictures of the vehicle she was riding in, as well as surgery-prep scenes, and there's news footage showing how almost everyone expected her to die. That, combined with the film's other references to violence and images of gunfire, threats, and explosions, make it too intense for younger viewers, but older tweens and up are likely to find the movie's messages about courage, the importance of education, and standing up for your beliefs absolutely inspiring.
Reminisces of Malala's parents' romance; suggestion that Malala fancies certain handsome athletes.
Though the exact moment when Malala was attacked isn't shown because it wasn't filmed, viewers see images of the bloody scene and moments when she was being prepped for some of her many operations; her bruises and scars are a testament to what she's been through. News footage of armored vehicles, gun-brandishing Taliban enforcers, the aftermath of public executions, fiery explosions, and more hints at the menace that Malala and her neighbors had to deal with. Plenty of talk about threats the Taliban made against others, including beheadings.
No matter what challenges are thrown at you, you can overcome them as long as you know who you are, stay grounded in what you believe, and speak when your voice needs to be heard. Promotes the importance of family and standing up for what you believe in. Underlines the necessity of education for all children everywhere and portrays school and study in an extremely positive light.
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