The documentary follows Greta Thunberg, a teenage climate activist from Sweden, on her international crusade to get people to listen to scientists about the world’s environmental problems. See the movie on Hulu or Documentary Mania.
Simply ignoring the world’s inaction on tackling the catastrophic crisis proved to be an impossible act for Thunberg, and when she was only 15, she began sitting outside the Swedish Parliament while brandishing her now-infamous sign reading, “School Strike for the Climate,” in the days leading up to her country’s 2018 general elections. After politicians were elected who refused to prioritize the environment, Thunberg decided to hold her school strikes every Friday. Little did Grossman realize during his early days of following Thunberg with his camera that he was chronicling the origins of what would become a global movement. “I Am Greta” is being released on the 117th day of Thunberg’s weekly “Fridays for Future” strikes, which have been held virtually throughout much of this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since Thunberg is one of the most gifted and arresting speakers alive today, “I Am Greta” is inherently compelling as a behind-the-scenes document of the vulnerabilities masked by her forceful persona. We see the mounting concern of her supportive father, Svante, who is hyper-aware of her social anxiety and tendency to ignore her own needs. There is a genuine tension between them when he plucks her out of a rally and insists that she eat something. He also attempts, without success, to dissuade her from using disquieting yet truthful terms such as “sixth mass extinction” in her speeches, which she edits to the point of exhaustion in order to remove any grammatical or translational errors. Her determination to not be viewed as a hypocrite inspires her family to adjust their way of living accordingly by refusing to eat meat and dairy, travel via airplane or purchase nonessential items.
The most harrowing sequence occurs during Thunberg’s much-publicized two-week voyage from Plymouth, England to the U.S. Climate Summit in New York City, a staggering act of conviction worthy of Herzog’s lens. As waves crash onto the roof of her small boat, Thunberg cries into her phone about the weight that has been placed on her shoulders, exuding a frustration that later fueled her subsequent speech at the conference, designed to chastise those who look to young people for hope without joining the cause themselves.RogerEbert.com Moviereview I am Greta