Good on Netflix: 'The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind' - Inspiring, Honest, Awesome

Plot Summary:
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind follows the true story of William Kamkwamba, a clever young boy in Malawi, South Africa during a period of political unrest, unpredictable weather and famine. With limited education and a few library books, he dreams of building a wind turbine to save their small farming village from starvation.   

Why It Makes My List:
While this is Chiwetel Ejiofor's first outing as a feature film director, the film is capably handled and inspiring, to say the least.  The contrasting elements portrayed in this film serve to amplify the realism and relevance of its message: familial harmony brought to conflict, dreams turned to sorrow, plentiful harvest to famine, fearful weeping to tears of joy. This is a story of determination despite opposition, ingenuity in spite of ignorance, and hope undeterred by hostility.  The harsh realities of this film can be difficult to watch, but they lend credibility to the ultimate triumph of the human spirit portrayed herein.

Other Reasons to Watch:
  1. A Unique Perspective: Though it certainly isn't the focal point of the film, the story largely takes place in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. I had never really considered the ramifications of that tragic day on rural villagers in South Africa, so it was enlightening to see the consequences from a unique angle.
  2. Some Great Unknowns: With the exception of Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange; 12 Years a Slave), I did not recognize any other cast members, which was terrific!  Especially for a smaller film like this, I love seeing talented actors and actresses delivering great performances even though no one knows who they are yet (here's looking at you Maxwell Simba). 
  3. You Need a Reality Check: This is not a Black Panther with a happy, thriving African nation. This is a portrayal of honest, struggling people living on the land and trying to provide for their families. It doesn't sugarcoat their desperation, nor does it seek to hide their humanity. They are people, just like you and I, who, because of where they were born, have uniquely harsh and challenging lives.  It was a bit of a reality check for me, to be honest, as I sometimes complain about my outdated smartphone or old truck. If you want a lesson in humility, this film should help. 
Reason to Pass:
  1. You Don't Like Subtitles: Much of the film is spoken in a native dialect so you will need to be okay reading the subtitles. If that is something with which you are unfamiliar, it just becomes second nature after awhile and does not detract from the viewing experience - if anything, it requires you to be more attentive.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is both available and Good on Netflix.
As always, I recommend checking out the Parents Guide just so that you are aware of any potentially objectionable material before deciding whether to watch it.