How much impact can a single man have? The documentary “Mully” shares the inspirational story of Kenyan entrepreneur Charles Mully, demonstrating the echoes that an individual can have on the community around him.
After his family abandons him when he was just 6, Mully becomes a beggar in the slums of Nairobi. A moment of kindness from a stranger helps him get on his feet, and Mully starts a small business that he eventually builds into an empire. When he is at the peak of his success, the film takes a dramatic turn as he wants to use his wealth to help those who grew up like he did, but his efforts have a cost for his wife, Esther, and their eight children.
Actor Scott Haze makes his feature directorial debut with “Mully,” and he has made a powerful, focused documentary whose turns will surprise those unfamiliar with its subject’s life. The film uses reenactments to dramatize moments from Mully’s childhood through the present, as well as interviews with him and his family that offer insight and an intimate look at their experiences. Aerial cinematography helps viewers understand the scope of the problems as well as Mully’s efforts.
At times, “Mully” is difficult to watch as it explores the depth of poverty and abuse for some Kenyans. However, Mully’s story is ultimately heartwarming, with the postscript about his family and his efforts offering a balm to the pain.
Running time: 1 hour, 22 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills