Making the Grades
The environment is back in theaters again, this time under the helm of Leonardo DiCaprio who fills the role of co-producer, co-writer and host of this documentary. There's not much in this film that we haven't heard before, and visually it is far from being interesting with many shots of weather related disasters, starving people, and polar bears digging through garbage dumps. If these images look familiar it's because they are reused material from stock agencies and other documentaries.
But before you head out to see what's playing on the screen next door, a little patience with The 11th Hour will reveal it to be one of the more intelligent and encompassing documentaries made on this subject in the last couple of years. Rather than focusing only on global warming, it covers an amazingly wide variety of reasons for the Earth's ill health. In the end, it identifies what I've always suspected to be a far greater contributor to pollution than a simple tailpipe -- human greed.
With a huge cast of "experts" (it would be nice to see a few more credentials than "author" below their talking heads) weighing in on the state of the oceans, atmosphere and soil, you are left with a deeper appreciation of how we are all part of the problem and -- if we can get our act together -- the solution.
The subject matter has obvious application for viewers of all ages, and fortunately there are few reasons not to have family members watch this film. Aside from the moments of newsreel footage depicting destruction, people in dire circumstances, some rotting animal carcasses and the clubbing of a seal, there are no real content issues. However, young children will probably be bored silly by the lengthy interviews.
Possibly the greatest shortcoming with this production is it tries to do too much with too little time. Merely able to touch on most topics, it will likely leave audiences with more questions than answers. However, moviegoers are sure to have a lot to discuss while they wait for the environmentally friendly, public transit system to take them back home.
Beyond the movie ratings: What parents need to know about The 11th Hour...
There is little of concern for parents in this environmental documentary. In the opening minutes a montage of short images shows various weather-related disasters and people in peril. We also see people who appear malnourished (including a rear shot of a naked person) and the dead bodies of hurricane victims. A religious painting portrays an unclothed Adam and Eve. Rotting animal carcasses and a seal being clubbed are depicted. A few mild profanities are heard during interviews. No sexual content or alcohol/drug use was noted.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The 11th Hour.
This movie raises many questions about the causes and solutions for current environmental problems. One recurring theme is our need to overcome selfishness, which is manifest in our focus on making money and growing the economy. Do you think it’s possible to have a healthy environment and a healthy economy?
You may leave this movie feeling like the problem is too big for any one person to solve. What can we do as individuals to make the situation better? What would happen if every family committed to making even one change?