He Named Me Malala

The world’s heart went out to 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai when she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012 for her spirited defense of women’s education in Afghanistan. Yousafzai returned the favor when, having survived, she resumed her activism on an even larger scale. This documentary portrait by Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) offers intimate moments with the teenage celebrity, now living with her beaming father and pesky younger brother in Birmingham, England, and seeing her giggle at Despicable Me on an iPad or turn bashful when questioned about boys, you realize she’s still just a child. Montages of Yousafzai’s public appearances stress her initiation into the global media world, which culminates in her Nobel Peace Prize award in 2014, but Guggenheim makes little effort to chronicle the years leading up to the attack, when she courted fate as a blogger for the BBC. A little suspense might have helped this well-meaning but toothless effort.