In August of 2018, Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old student in Sweden starts a school strike for the climate. Her question for adults: if you don't care about her future on earth, why should she care about her future in school? Within months, her strike evolves into a global movement. Greta, a quiet East-European girl on the autism spectrum is now a world famous activist. The team behind Greta has been following the young activist from her very first day of school striking.
The sea voyage from Plymouth, UK, to New York, United States on the Malizia II took 15 days (14 August - 28 August, 2019). The return journey on La Vagabonde from Hampton, Virginia, United States to Lisbon, Portugal took 20 days (13 November - 3 December, 2019). See more »
For many it was former U.S. Vice President Al Gore's slide-show presentation of a documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth" (2006), Greta Thunberg cites a video she saw at school on polar bears endangered by the loss of sea ice from climate change, and for others it's been Thunberg's activism spotlighted in social media and for still others it very well could be "I Am Greta" that awakens them to the perils of global warming. Motion pictures are powerful that way. Such reflexive musings occasionally made by Thunberg--she also compares her travels and rise to fame to as if she were living in a movie-- aside, I didn't have high expectations for this documentary, as I'm not usually very interested in such cinematic lectures or celebrity profiles. That "I Am Greta" hasn't received stellar reviews, albeit more positive than not, from the sort of entertainment critics that tend to be predisposed to such material wasn't heartening, either. But, I like the observational approach of the camera here mixed with Thunberg's narration, and director Nathan Grossman got quite the scoop capturing the teenager's initially-solo school strike outside the Swedish parliament and building it up into a saga of the schoolgirl crisscrossing Europe, meeting world leaders and inspiring other children around the world, before ending with a climactic sea voyage across the Atlantic to admonish more politicians to their faces at the United Nations in New York.
Thunberg says her activism isn't about her but rather about the issue of anthropogenic climate change, but Grossman is right to keep the focus on the star here, and she's adroit at exploiting--her, not her parents or whomever else, as is made clear in the documentary--her position as a Swedish child, including one with Asperger's, to do what no adult could really get away with--making being curt and passionate in her lecturing come across as inspirational and appealing to the paternal instincts of the supposed adults in the room. I mean, besides the ones who are despots or childish nincompoops, or both--your Bolsonaros, Putins, Trumps and Piers Morgans of the world. It's impressive how she's built a following and movement and has leveraged it to put pressure on leaders and figures who care about governing--the likes of Macron, Merkel, the Pope, even former governator Arnold Schwarzenegger. One of the common laments of "I Am Greta" seems to be that it won't convert anyone from the other side. Yet, in an age when science is denied for political reasons and others are demonized even when they're a teenager, that was never really a possibility. Thunberg has the right idea focusing on her peers who haven't yet grown into a feedback loop of confirmation bias, conspiracy theories and misinformation. The science here is established, so her role is to push her movement to galvanize the adults capable of accepting responsibility and scoff at the rest of them.
The best exchange in the whole movie, though, is the first one. An old woman approaches Thunberg to reprimand her for not being in school, to which Thunberg retorts that there's no need for an education without a future. Two years later, at 17, she's already been more altruistic and influential in her career as a climate-change activist than whomever that old woman was or most of us ever will be. Even those who don't understand the greenhouse effect or comprehend the dangers of humanity's destruction of nature even while a resulting pandemic rages should be able to see the irony there.
51 of 131 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this