He named me Malala

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Short takes

Not recommended under 13; parental guidance recommended 13-15 (Disturbing scenes and themes; Violence)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for He named me Malala
  • a review of He named me Malala completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 1 January 1970.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to disturbing scenes, violence and themes of war and death.
Children 13 to 15 Parental guidance recommended due to disturbing scenes, violence and themes of war and death.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: He named me Malala
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes, some distressing images
Length: 88 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

He named me Malala is a documentary about the life of Nobel Prize winning human rights activist Malala Yousafzai. The brave teenager was shot and seriously injured by the Taliban in Pakistan for speaking up about the right of girls to attend school. The film discusses Malala’s life leading up to her shooting in 2012 and follows her current life in England. The documentary discusses the political situation in Pakistan and explores the human right to education. 


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

War; death; children as victims; the rights of women under the rule of the Taliban; recovering from serious injury

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is violence in this movie including:

  • An animation shows men fighting in a war and a teenage girl shot and killed
  • The Taliban bomb buildings and schools. There is the sound of explosions and the burning rubble of the buildings is shown.
  • The Taliban threatened Malala. She was told that if she returned to Pakistan they would kill her.
  • Malala talks about her shooting and draws a diagram of what happened and who was shot. The shooting is not shown but some disturbing images are shown of the blood soaked school bus.
  • Malala’s father talks about how his friend saw a man being beheaded

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • There are frequent depictions of the Taliban carrying machine guns
  • There is video showing Malala in hospital after she was shot, covered in bandages and unconscious. It may also be scary for children when Malala wakes up and in unable to move the left side of her face.
  • Cars are shown on fire
  • There is video showing the Taliban burning books, movies and televisions
  • Military tanks with soldiers and guns are shown rolling into her Pakistani town.
  • Some dead bodies are briefly shown in the background
  • Pools of blood are shown in the streets

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes and also:

  • Malala visits a Syrian refugee camp and talks to young children. This may be sad for audience members.
  • Malala talks to the parents of the Nigerian girls who were kidnapped. This is confronting as the parents are very emotional.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are likely to be scared or disturbed by the above mentioned scenes

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Some children in this age group may be scared or disturbed by the above mentioned scenes

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Malala discusses some of her British school friends having boyfriends
  • Malala’s father talks about his romance with her mother
  • It is suggested that Malala fancies Roger Federer

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

Nothing of concern

Coarse language

Nothing of concern

In a nutshell

He named me Malala is a touching and inspiring documentary which reinforces the importance of education, and of standing up for your own beliefs and for human rights. The subject matter and some scenes may be disturbing for younger children, so the film is not recommended for under 13s and parental guidance is recommended for 13 and 14 year olds. Given Malala’s age, the film raises important issues for parents and teachers to discuss with older children and presents an inspiring role model for girls in particular.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Education is a universal human right, for females as well as males.
  • You should be brave in standing up for what you believe in
  • The importance of family support for someone undergoing a struggle against powerful opposition