Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai is the co-author of the bestselling memoir I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by The Taliban. Davis Guggenheim's (Waiting for Superman) prettily padded documentary/advocacy alert tells the story of before and after that violence, placing special emphasis, as the title suggests, on the influence of Malala's principled, devoted father, educator Ziauddin Yousafzai. Also on her attempts to live as a normal daughter and schoolgirl in England while advocating for girls' education all over the world. It's a compelling story, but it's not a compelling movie. How Guggenheim manages to convey such a feeling of polite distance while recounting the terrorizing of a town, the bombing of schools, and the shooting of children is a curious thing. The watercolorish animations and lack of contextual grounding may have something to do with it. The chief draw here, of course, is Malala herself: an irrepressible, earnest voice for the oppressed. (2015) — Matthew Lickona
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