The Eagle Huntress narrated by Daisy Ridley follows the wonderful story of a teenage girl named Aisholpan who becomes the first eagle huntress in Mongolia.
We are introduced to Aisholpan at a boarding school located in a small town miles from her nomadic home because schools are quite far from where she lives. It’s the last day of school for that week and Aisholpan is taken home by her father on his moped. Her family are nomads that live in a simple circular hut in the midst of a vast barren plain edged by beautiful, rocky mountains. Her family consists of Aisholpan’s younger sister and brother, her mother, and her father.
Her father is one of the few remaining eagle hunters in Mongolia. For centuries Mongolian men caught eaglets, raised them, and used them to hunt for food to support their families. Since Aisholpan was a little girl she loved watching her father put on the eagle hunters’ garb and go out in search of food from rabbits to foxes. In fact, it was one of her joys to help her father with his eagle. As she grew older her father allowed her to play with his eagle as he saw her keen interest in becoming a hunter.
Aisholpan’s father eventually allows her to get her own baby eaglet and then her journey as an eagle huntress begins. Even though it is highly unusual for a girl to become a huntress, Aisholpan’s father loves her so much that he believes in her ability to become an eagle hunter.
The Eagle Huntress is a beautiful story that shows both her and her eagle’s growth as a team. She faces adversity from the male elders who believe that women shouldn’t be eagle hunters. Through sheer love of the role, however, she doesn’t let anything sway her from what she wants to do. It was nice to see her father teach her in the traditional ways of an eagle hunter.
I loved this documentary because there are many cultures throughout the world where men are dominant and absolutely will not allow women or girls to achieve their dreams. Aisholpan however stepped outside of the box of what Mongolian women are traditionally expected to do and did something extraordinary. It’s also beautiful because her father encouraged her to pursue being an eagle huntress rather than summarily stop her. This shows that the world is slowly becoming more inclusive for everyone. All it takes is for allies to be in young girls’ corners. I definitely think this is the perfect film to show young girls because it’s empowering. A girl might watch this documentary and want to do something that she thought she could never do until she saw the fearlessness of Aisholpan.
I give The Eagle Huntress a 93 out of 100 because it does end abruptly. I came away from the movie wanting to know a little more about Aisholpan’s end story but the movie was perfect besides that. There wasn’t much music but they did integrate some here and there, the cinematography was beautiful, and I am so glad to have witnessed another piece of history being written.
Annlyel James writes about film and entertainment at annlyelonline.com.