Girl Rising Film Review

“One girl with courage is a revolution”

“Girl Rising” (2013) by Richard E. Robbins is documentary that follows nine different girls from Haiti to Nepal. They all fought for a chance to be able to go to school in spite of the heartbreaking injustices such as natural disasters, extreme poverty, and even forced labor. Through education these nine girls are able to break barriers, make change and offer inspiration and hope.

Surprisingly I actually really liked the documentary. I am usually not that big of a fan of documentaries, but this one was different. Girl Rising definitely deserves points for doing something different than relying on the bone-dry, academic approach usually employed for such informational ventures. It was a mixture of live action, animation and narration, of reenactments and reimagining as well as real life footage. It is stunningly made with a wonderful cinematography, writing and a unique approach to all of the different stories. The movie is also very fair; it gives all of the girls a voice. Which sadly has a lot to say about the abuse and being subordinated by the men in the stories, but it does make an effort to show the positive male figures, like nurturing fathers and protective brothers. People who are not already familiar with these issues will be flabbergasted. They will forever be thankful for not being in one of the nine girl’s positions.

Out of all the stories, I think the story of Wadley from Haiti made the greatest impression on me. She was just 7 years old when her world came crashing down around her. Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake destroyed her home and school, but something it did not break was her irrepressible spirit or her extinguishable thirst to learn. Her family could not afford to send her to school, but she still returned, even after being sent home day after day.

“One girl with courage is a revolution” is the movie’s quote. I do not think I would change it. Not only because I personally think it is such an empowering quote, but also because it fits the movie so perfectly. The phrase simply implies that any girl with courage can make a change, exactly what the movie is trying to show in the nine different stories.

Even through the storytelling, I do not think I could relate to their lives in any way to be able to fully empathize. I could try, but I will never be able to know what forced labor, having an arranged marriage or even having no education feels like. If the world was turned upside down, I think most of us would feel like victims, something the girls of Girl Rising don’t, and that is what makes them so important.

I would recommend this movie to pretty much everybody above the age of 15, simply because I think this is such an important topic. Since you already have the opportunity to read this film review, I would jump to the conclusions that you are healthy, you have had several years of schooling and last but not least, a safe place to live. It is important not to take these simple, but so important things for granted.

I would highly recommend you to visit Girl Rising’s website and reading more about their organisation. 

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