The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

14th october 2019

A neglectful national government and some villagers' bad decision-making contribute to the widespread starvation descending upon William Kamkwamba's (Maxwell Simba) village after devastating flooding in THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND. William's parents, Tyrell (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Agnes (Aissa Maiga), determined to fund their children's education, simply cannot come up with the money for their son's school in this time of hardship. But William is a gifted student, intrigued by electronics and making things work.

Of special interest to him are wind turbines, which his inventive mind believes might be able to provide enough electricity to water the now-barren land. As long shots go, a 13-year-old boy with almost no resources defies all odds. But William, with a bit of deception and a little help, gets access to an old American textbook that just may provide the technology he needs. When William asks his dad to make an unusual sacrifice for the project, the boy's relentless prodding strains their usually-solid relationship. The family's foundation is sorely tested, and hope is in short supply.

In addition to William's inspiring story, this film presents an unforgettable portrait of village life in Africa, advancing awareness of the universality of family relationships and human struggles. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Chiwetel Ejiofor's first writing-directing effort, could not be more impressive. The entire production -- photography, production design, editing, story structure, music -- is stellar. Each performance he elicits is nuanced and alive with the spirit of the story being told. And, while it's likely that Ejiofor has taken some license with the events, the overall effect is enlightening, relatable, and very gratifying. Highly recommended for families to share.