The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

A new Netflix original movie release travels to a small village in Malawi, Africa, where extreme drought conditions present an opportunity for a 13-year-old boy to shine. Based on the 2001 true story, “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” brings an uplifting and powerful message within solemn survival conditions.

Presented in a straightforward and easily understood engineering manner, this inspirational narrative delves deep inside the Kamkwamba family, who reside in the farming village of Wimbe. After devastating floods destroy their grain fields, the community faces backlash and neglect from government officials unwilling to acknowledge the problem or assist the people. Soon, a young boy steps up and offers a glimpse into what ingenuity and schooling can accomplish.

Academy Award nominated actor Chiwetel Ejiofer flawlessly describes the dangerous situation in which the villagers find themselves. Never rushing the scientific solution too quickly, Ejiofer slowly magnifies the pain and suffering within Wimbe from several different perspectives. 

Portraying the taskmaster father Trywell Kamkwamba, Ejiofer is brilliant as head of a family trying to survive and keep their grain fields productive. No message is more boldly pronounced than the importance of education to one’s future. It’s here, in the classroom and chapters of a textbook, that teenager William Kamkwamba steps up to save his village and family.

An underrated performance by Maxwell Simba as the young William is both inspirational and informative. Amongst malnutrition and rampant death stands a boy compelled to share his wisdom with others. 

Barely sidestepping starvation and complete devastation, the film’s success is in the found in the methodical transformation from a sad story to triumphant ending. 

Grade: A-

“The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” is a Netflix original movie with a running time of 1 hour and 53 minutes.

Patrick King is a resident of Tucson and writer for the Reel Brief movie blog at Email him at

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