Movie Review: I Am Greta
Forgive my simple-mindedness, but I’ve no clue what’s going on with the climate or why it’s changing. The only changes I’m aware of are on David Bowie’s classic album, Hunky Dory. I’m in no position to comment on or criticise either the work of climate activist Greta Thunberg, or the aims she has, nor am I in any position to praise her. Not because I agree or disagree with her, but because I don’t know enough about the climate crisis. My inability to consider worldwide disasters because I wish to keep myself away from further worries is a detriment, of course, but I’ve got a lot on my plate at the moment, and I don’t need someone telling me that my plate may sink thanks to rising sea levels. I Am Greta, then, is a documentary that wishes to pool together the rise of Thunberg, her objective, and the achievements she’s made thus far.
Documentaries are meant to tap into the intimate moments, but with I Am Greta, it felt intrusive. I felt intrusive. Moments of extreme privacy are breached, all for the sake of showing that Thunberg is someone deep in the waters of political discourse, with a raft that looks ready to crumble. Regardless of which side you fall on, it’s hard not to feel empathy for the weight of this movement and the shoulders it has been placed on. I don’t envy the position, but I don’t understand it either, and this documentary does nothing whatsoever to coax any information out, none that is at all helpful, anyway.
As a person, Thunberg is portrayed as someone who has cultivated a following. Her aim is broadly good, to fight the dangers of the climate crisis and the impending apocalypse. I’m not sure I’d bother, honestly, not to knock the movement, but I’ve accepted my fate. Sometimes I throw batteries into the recycling bin, just to stop the progress a little bit. I Am Greta does a good job of showing who Thunberg is, but I’m not entirely sure that’ll appeal to anyone other than her biggest fans and her most ardent haters. There’s nothing in here that really focuses on her goal or message, rather, it focuses on the celebrity status she achieves, the interactions she has very briefly with world leaders, and her genuinely impressive yacht ride across the Pacific Ocean.
It’s easy to sweep away the idea that our generation should deal with climate change, because that’s what our innovation will bring, but I Am Greta raises the important point of holding the generations above us to account. The message Thunberg has for the world is crucial, but the way she and her genuine desire to do good is manipulated not just by this documentary, but the political stage, is rather sickly to behold. That much I do understand, and that’s made clear by this half-hearted documentation of a life and message not yet completed.