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Movie Review: Wind moves water and emotions

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Erica Rae Sanchez
Arts Editor

“The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” brought tears to my eyes as one goes on an adventure with a family from Malawi, struggling to feed their family while the town endures famine, poverty and mistreatment from their government.

This Netflix movie was released last Friday and is based on a true story, which makes the events of struggle and success a bit more touching and inspiring.

As the town is experiencing hardships, William Kamkwamba, a teenage boy, played by Maxwell Simba, invents a windmill that generates energy into a water pump.

This invention brings water to the community, which is vital because they are experiencing a dry spell.

This dry spell was the result of floods during the wet season. It hardened all of their land, causing there to be no rich soil to support the families in Malawi. Kamkwamba’s family is left with one meal a day during this famine.

Although William is not allowed to attend school, he spends his time in the library reading books about windmills from America. He decides if he can gather up all of the junkyard items he needs, he will be able to make this windmill.

When William presents his idea to his father and his friends, they do not believe that this will be successful and doubt his ability to create it. When his dad comes around to the idea, he has people from the town help him build the life changing windmill from scraps.

When the windmill was a success the people were overwhelmed with happiness. I could not help but shed a tear because they had finally found some light in the darkness of their troubles.

Today, William is 31 years old. He was awarded scholarships in Malawi, attended the African Leadership Academy in South Africa and completed his environmental studies degree at Dartmouth in the United States.

This film was one that humbled me. It made me grateful for the water that pours out of the faucet, the food stocked in my refrigerator and the material items I own but do not need in order to survive.

This movie did not have a dull moment. Between the struggles of affording school, feeding their village and their family separating, it kept me engaged and wondering how every problem was going to be fixed by the end of the two-hour movie.

The film broke off into different side stories that helped pique my interest. William’s sister runs away, the Chief is sick and William is sneaking into classes that he cannot afford. These side stories helped show the other struggles that the town and William’s family faced despite the famine.

This film is far from light hearted as it taps into the struggles that most Americans do not think about because they are so readily available. It is heart wrenching and eye opening as you watch people struggle for water to grow crops.

Although the ending is positive, the overall tone of the movie is not. If you are looking for a movie to lift your spirits “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” is not the Netflix film for you, but it is if you are looking for a humbling and soul touching experience.

Erica Rae Sanchez can be reached at

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