He Named Me Malala (PG) Four stars

Dir: Davis Guggenheim Runtime: 87 minutes

DOCUMENTARY maker Davis Guggenheim pulled off something of a coup with An Inconvenient Truth, managing to make both climate change science and Al Gore fascinating. No wonder they gave him an Oscar.

In his new film, Guggenheim deals with another towering figure, albeit one who is still a teenager. Malala Yousafzai, then 15 and living in the Swat valley, was shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking out in favour of education for girls. Her achievements in the three years since, including winning the Nobel Peace Prize, are charted in He Named Me Malala.

Malala’s story has hardly wanted for coverage, but Guggenheim, using a mix of animation, news footage, and voice only interviews, goes beyond the headlines to discover what motivates this young woman. His obviously good relationship with Malala, her father, and the rest of the family, pays off as we see her different sides emerge. Here is Malala the diplomat, but here also is Malala the teenager, teasing her younger brothers into fits of giggles.

While this could have been a straight down the line tribute, Guggenheim cleverly teases out other strands of the story, including what influence, if any, her father has had on Malala.

What shines through is her calmness and optimism as she continues along the long, slow path back to full recovery. Every day is a victory against the men who tried to silence her. She knows it, and now we know it too.