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Malia Obama’s short film “The Heart” marked her directorial debut at Sundance


February 22, 2024

The oldest daughter of former President Barack Obama, Malia Obama, made her feature film debut as a director at Sundance last month. It appears that she chose to go by a stage name in order to keep her distance from her father.

The 18-minute short film ‘The Heart’ features Malia Ann, who notably omits her well-known surname, as the writer and director.

The film narrates the tale of a solitary guy bereaved of his mother “after an argument about groceries and an odd request in her will”.

The 25-year-old’s attempts have not received the best of reviews on the movie review website Letterboxd.

One review said: “Honoring her father’s legacy by dropping a giant bomb and not receiving any criticism for it.”

Other negative reviews on the website called the short film a “real stinker,” a “half-baked short,” and “truly dreadful,” resulting in an average review of 3.2 out of 5 stars.

Several reviews made charges of nepotism against Malia, with one saying: “Calling yourself ‘Malia Ann’ is not going to avert any Nepo Baby criticisms, Miss Former First Daughter.”

Professional reviews also acknowledged Obama daughter’s famous connections. TheĀ Daily BeastĀ called the short film “solid but mostly forgettable” in a section calledĀ Nepo the baby of the week.

The New York TimesĀ described it as a “promising debut” before adding:Ā “In-the-know types might wonder if the ‘Steven and Kate’ thanked in the closing credits are Spielberg and Capshaw, a husband and wife who can ensure a well-connected debut.”

Vanity Fair claims that Gilga, Donald Glover’s production business, contributed to the creation of “The Heart.”

Malia Obama was coached by Glover, who revealed to GQ in April of last year that he had told her, “You’re Obama’s daughter.” Thus, if you produce a poor movie, it will follow you everywhere.”

In actuality, Malia Obama has been employed in the field since her Harvard graduation. According to Vanity Fair, she had previously worked as a production assistant on Halle Berry’s “Extant” series and as a staff writer on Glover’s Amazon Prime comedy “Swarm.”

Before those jobs, she interned on the set of HBO’sĀ ‘Girls’Ā and at the Weinstein Company in 2017, before the news of the founder’s predatory behavior broke.