The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind – True tale of boy genius in Malawi

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Picture: Ilze Kitshoff

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Picture: Ilze Kitshoff

Netflix does it again with another original film set to capture viewers’ hearts.

If you are looking for great African storytelling and your Netflix account payment is up to date, then you should definitely watch The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, the latest Netflix original film.

Based on the international bestselling book, it’s the true story of William Kamkwamba, a young Malawian genius/engineer.

He gained fame in his country in 2007 when he built a wind turbine from blue gum trees, bicycle parts and materials collected in a scrapyard to save his family and village from drought and famine.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Picture: Ilze Kitshoff

The movie, like the book, is a heartwarming tale of determination in the face of adversity.

Oscar-nominated Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) skilfully moves between charm and poignancy in his directorial debut.

Ejiofor’s meticulous attention to the region’s cultural and geographic specifics and refusal to downplay its hardships makes for unforgettable viewing and will certainly set in stone his place on the shortlist of great actor-directors.

Adapted to screen as a life-or-death survival story, we first meet Kamkwamba (brilliantly portrayed by newcomer Maxwell Simba) in 2001 as a curious-minded schoolboy with a love of electronics.

William’s family is struggling to make ends meet, but his parents Trywell (Ejiofor) and Agnes (Aïssa Maïga) remain focused on their children’s education, despite the financial cost.

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Maxwell Simba, and Lily Banda in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019)

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Picture: Ilze Kitshoff

When 13-year-old son William is forced to leave school after falling behind on payments, he becomes determined to help not only his family, but also a community facing famine.

Following its recent premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, some critics described the film as conventional. While this may be so, in does not prevent it from slowly and successfully building up to a remarkably rousing climax, displaying an act of overwhelming filmmaking ingenuity.

Viewers will get lost in the remarkable talent of young actor Simba as he matures from a playful child to a philanthropic saviour of his drought-stricken village.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind will be streaming on Netflix from March 1.

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