I Am Greta (2020): A Fine, Essential Panic Attack

“I Am Greta” is directed by Nathan Grossman, stars Greta Thunberg, and it follows the titular young, teenage girl who spends her days advocating for climate justice. It focuses on her life in Sweden, the expansion of her mission that now spans around the world, and the impact that her actions have on others.

If you are reading Scene Before for the first time, welcome! I happily allow just about anyone to read my blog, including my enemies. Because at the end of the day, my goal is to entertain everyone. But let me just be clear on one thing.

Climate change is real.

I rarely talk about societal issues, but this is one of those times that I have to. The fact that this is still a debate is agonizing to me. With that in mind, let’s move on.

Greta Thunberg is a somewhat recently popularized figure, and when it comes to the climate crisis, her name has in a way become synonymous. Sort of in the same way that Grubhub has with the ease of being lazy and ordering a large pizza for yourself at 9PM. I have a strong feeling that in years from now, Thunberg will continue to have a presence in these spheres of history as someone who pioneered her way through the climate epidemic. And based on what this movie has shown to me, her story has only begun. After all, Thunberg is still in her teens, and whether or not this crisis is solvable is a continuous question mark.

If you want my honest thoughts about “I Am Greta,” it is my favorite documentary of 2020 so far. I do not know how many more I plan to watch. “76 Days” admittedly looks pretty good, but of the ones that I have seen this year, this is probably going to be the one that I will look back on at the end of the year happy to have paid money for. I will say though, I have to bring back the old saying of 2020, this does not say much.

One of the things I read on Rotten Tomatoes before watching this documentary is that the movie is pretty good, but not that educational. This is what I found through the “Critics Consensus.”

“Audiences might not learn anything new from I Am Greta, but its stirring chronicle of the young activist’s efforts is inspiring.”

Honestly, I could end the review right here, because that is sort of dead on accurate, but I prefer not to.

I feel like this consensus stands true for a viewer like myself because I already knew Greta Thunberg, and this documentary reinforces that climate change is often seen as the big issue for my generation, as if our very survival depends on it. This movie does not always present something that I have not heard, seen, or thought already. It more or less goes into my brain, takes all the information out, and implants certain pieces into the final product of the documentary. So as I watched this movie, there are points where I go, “Hmm, I remember that,” because I’ve seen it already. After all, I have a strong feeling that if you were to watch this documentary for the first time, there is a strong chance that you will go in having heard Greta Thunberg’s name in some alternate context before. Thunberg was featured on late night talk shows such as The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, she has been all over the news, she became Time’s Person of the Year, and she’s even been a subject of Donald Trump’s tweets, but not in a way that would make her smile.

Although one of my favorite parts of the movie specifically dives into Thunberg’s exposure to her place in hate culture on the Internet, and I was amused by how she was able to laugh it off. It sort of goes to show the maturity of her character and maybe she really is able to… Chill.

While I may not be as much in the forefront of the climate crisis as her, this movie did remind me of how I happened to relate to Greta Thunberg. Because we are both on the autism spectrum. Granted, our official classifications on said spectrum are slightly different, but they are defining characteristics of ourselves. There’s a point where someone chats with Thunberg, and they bring up how she “suffers” from Asperger’s. She then goes on to affirm that she has it, but from her view, she does not suffer from it. I have high function autism, and yes, it may partially factor into why I have “sensitive hearing,” but this movie also shows that people on the spectrum often find themselves interested in something only to become laser-focused on it. I have many interests in life. Movies, game shows, elevators, trains, and so on. But one thing that is true about me sometimes is that I can find myself in a rabbit hole from time to time.

This film takes place through much of 2019, and the message of the story stands true a year after much of this happened. And this is a little weird to say about a documentary, but I wouldn’t mind Nathan Grossman and the crew behind this film continuing the story through the lens. Not only is it about a defining issue of the times, but much of this movie incorporates an element that you cannot have today, and possibly our future depending on how society fills the pages of COVID-19. Crowds. The movie starts off with Greta Thunberg in her native country of Sweden, forming a small crowd of people to strike with her. We see that this evolves to the part where she speaks to officials and large crowds in various settings. With COVID-19 being a major issue, not to mention one that can affect a core element of Thunberg’s activism, I would be interested to see a sequel on how she deals with climate justice during the times of COVID-19.

This is one of those movies which could potentially have an impact nobody has realized yet. I say that because the film addresses the idea that even though there is a climate crisis, some would suggest there is a lot that is being done about it. Thunberg refuses to accept that notion and makes sure government officials and leaders not only lend their ears to her, but give in to her demands. Do we do something, or stand by? That is a question that we have to answer ourselves. But as we answer that question, there is a solid chance that many will look back at “I Am Greta” as an important film that asks such questions.

In the end, “I Am Greta” is a film that does not really introduce me to anything new in regards to the climate crisis, although it does a really effective job at chronicling Thunberg’s recent life story. Greta Thunberg is a name that I have heard plenty of times before this documentary came out, and there is a solid chance, depending on how well this film does, I will being hearing the name many more times. If there was anything else to add, I think the film had a well-realized ending, and it is part of why I want a part 2 to this story. It highlights the work that needs to be done, while also emphasizing how far Thunberg has progressed in so little time. This movie sort of feels like a fraction of a superhero origin story, but I would like to see where it goes from here. I am going to give “I Am Greta” a 7/10.

I wonder if I should start doing this more, because the pandemic has many options for movie-watching now, but if you want to watch “I Am Greta,” it is now available on Hulu if you want to watch it at home. I watched it through docnyc.net, which links to a virtual edition of one of the largest documentary film festivals. I spotted them $12 to spread some support, and if you want to watch anything through the festival, the options for all the documentaries are available until November 19th. “I Am Greta” was also theatrically released, but I am honestly not sure if any theaters are carrying the film at this point.

Thanks for reading this review! This Tuesday, I am going to be watching the all new Amazon Studios movie, “Sound of Metal.” I just saw the trailer for this movie, I am pretty excited, and it hits theaters this Friday, so I may have a review done before the official release. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “I Am Greta?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite documentary of 2020? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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