The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is an eye-opening experience

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind - Credit: Ilze Kitshoff / Netflix
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind - Credit: Ilze Kitshoff / Netflix /

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a true story that will make you realize how much you take for granted. A beautiful story of determination in the face of extreme adversity.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind was released on Netflix on March 1, and the Netflix original film tells the true story of William Kamkwamba.

William lived in a small village in Malawi that was dependent upon the rainy season to grow their crops. Without the crops, they would have nothing to eat or to sell to make money. William, a kid who loved to tinker, didn’t just sit back when things got bad in the village. He finds a book in his school’s library on energy and works to use what he learns to save his village. In the film, we are introduced to William and his family, the people in his village, the political dynamics, and the circumstances that led to his breakthrough.

The film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 years a Slave) as William’s father, Trywell. This film also marks Ejiofor’s directorial debut. It is clear that Ejiofor has a great eye, and I’d love to see more films from him, especially ones that will allow him to give American audiences a glimpse of the beauty of the African continent.

In the role of William, the film cast newcomer Maxwell Simba. It was a very strong debut for Simba and one has to believe he’ll see more roles come his way in the near future.

Before going any further I do have to warn you that the movie does have subtitles. The language used in the film is one Chicewa and Ejiofor actually had to learn in order to be in the film.

A feel-good story

To be honest there are a lot of difficult moments in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Many times throughout the film I found myself realizing just how difficult some people have it. My main takeaway was honestly how much we have that we take for granted.

For example, without giving away too much of the story, William’s family struggles to pay for him to go to school. In fact, going to school is considered a privilege and was not necessarily the norm here. William came from a family of farmers and his father was trying to be different from the prior generation by allowing his children the opportunity to earn an education. Because of this William took his schooling very seriously and was willing to do more studying that was truly necessary for him.

Even smaller things like the fact that William did not have light in order to study at night are not driven home by Ejiofor but stand out nonetheless as things that I personally have to remember to be grateful for. Watching films of this nature always make me put myself in the person’s shoes and wonder if I’d have the resolve to change my situation and it’s hard to say I would.

William is a truly exceptional human being, and at the end of the story, you receive the updates on what happened to everyone in the film after the events that take place on-screen.


If you’re in the mood for a historical story that will both make you think and then give you hope then The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a good pick for you. Again, be prepared to read subtitles but you’ll be glad you had to keep your eyes on the screen because it will ensure you don’t miss any of the great shots of the African landscape that Ejiofor captures.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is now streaming on Netflix.

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