Welcome to my Sunday Movie Review, where I share a review for movies I’ve watched that I feel deserve attention.
HBO special- I am Greta – the journey to becoming Greta Thunberg, documented. I watched this documentary two weeks ago when I came across it as I searched my saved lists of docs to watch. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to elaborate on who Greta Thunberg is – the teenager from Sweden who has Asperger’s and created a global movement for climate change. This doc is the story of how Greta’s movement gained world attention, from its inception to the global stage her protests grew into.
My 5 Star Review:
The documentary begins with 15 year old Greta’s concern with the state of the planet and climate change, and nobody seemed to care.
One lone girl, Greta, sits on the pavement in front of parliament on a Friday afternoon in Sweden with a protest sign, handing out papers she’s written about the danger in the world of climate change globally. Greta has Asperger’s and explains how she has no friends, often doesn’t like to speak, and her best supporter is her father, who tells us Greta has a photogenic memory and that Greta began pulling out plugs and turning off lights at a young age to conserve energy.
Greta begins gaining national attention when her Friday protests grew bigger as her movement eventually reached global attention. She’s eventually invited to speak at the UN. As her cause and popularity get noticed around the globe, the Friday ‘no school’ climate protests catch on around the world where thousands of kids join the fight.
“I don’t care about being popular, I care about climate justice and the living planet,” Greta laments. “It will be over soon and nobody will recognize me,” Greta says after a big televised conference. But nobody did forget Greta. The press began to follow her closely. Greta gained worldwide attention and supporters who said they cannot let her do the fight on her own, as she raises awareness everywhere she travels, thousands of teens join the fight globally. The official hashtag for Greta’s mission becomes #FridaysfortheFuture. This girl’s dedication, despite the flack and obstacles she encountered, is and was relentless. I cried my eyes out on so many levels as I took in the magnitude of her plight.
Greta stands true to her beliefs. As her mission is to cut emissions and pollutions – Greta’s movement was expanding globally and she had to begin making appearances to support her movement and embolden her supporters. But Greta would not fly in airplanes, it went against everything she fights for, but she takes the long road and becomes a globetrotter to show up for the cause and protests, as her father staunchly supports her and accompanies her on her missions taking long train journeys throughout Europe. President Macron invites her to Paris, in a televised conversation, he shares the importance of rich countries needing to help lead the way to climate change. Macron: “How do you manage school doing this?” Greta tells Macron she’s a nerd who makes up for missed school at home.
As Greta gets invited to more European climate change summits where her fight grows in recognition, she begins to question why she is getting so popular, “I honestly don’t understand why I get invited, so they can be spotlighted to look like they care as if they’re doing something. They’re doing nothing.”
Greta is challenged with her Asperger’s and her struggle for wanting to be left alone and her need to spread the message. Preferring to be alone, Greta must conquer her struggle while rallying up a charge and taking up those invitations requesting her presence. Her frustration often requires alone time. “Everyone promises to do things better, but they never do. Pretending feels kind of fake. What matters is emissions must be reduced and has to start now.”
Greta visits the Pope who encourages her to keep up the fight as thousands gathered outside the Vatican shouting Greta’s name, chanting for ‘Greta to save the planet.’ But of course, with glory also comes the bad press and negativity from some of the more ‘authoritarian-type’ world leaders who don’t seem to be interested in saving the planet. Putin thinks it’s a bogus cause, Trump makes fun of her, Balsenaro cuts her up, and her own government says she’s just a kid, in fact, most world leaders interviewed and asked about her, feel the same way – except Macron.
Then come the death threats as social media starts picking on her. But Greta said she didn’t care. “Humanity sees nature as this giant bag of candy, that we can just take what we want. But one day nature will strike back, I don’t know exactly how but there are heatwaves and floods and fires.”
She’s invited to the EU parliament to speak among hundreds of diplomats and gives a well researched speech on the devastation of climate change, through tears she shoots her words and finally gets a standing ovation. Greta is asked, “Why did you cry during your speech?”
Greta: “Animals and people are dying.”
“Why do some think of you as a radical baby who can’t really do anything,” one politician asked her.
“Sometimes I feel like the microphone isn’t on. Is it on? Because I’m begining to wonder. You lied to us and gave us false hope. Nobody is talking about it, nothing has changed. We children are doing this because we want our hopes and dreams back.”
Greta gets invited to speak in the USA at the UN climate summit in New York. “Since I don’t fly because of the enormous climate impact on aviation, it’s going to be a challenge.” It took two weeks for Greta and her dad to sail to America.
“I don’t want to be a person who says one thing and does something else. I don’t want to fly across the world because it’s easier that way,” Greta says as as she and her dad prepare the journey across the Atlantic from Plymouth, England. Droves of people wish them well as they sail off on rough waters in a sailboat. Greta encounters both seasickness and homesickness on the trek. “I don’t want to have to do all this. It’s too much for me, around the clock. I know that it’s important and what’s at stake. But it’s such a responsibility. I should be back in school, not the other side of the ocean.” Greta writes and dictates during the journey, questioning herself if her cause has taken her too far out of her comfort zone, in awe that her meager beginnings of being a solitaire young girl who began her lone protest sitting in front of her parliament building with a sign, one Friday afternoon.
The sails are up as Greta and her dad reach New York harbor. The crowds of people awaiting her were magnificent in size and chant. Greta shouts to the people, “We are dependent on each other to survive. If you see a threat it’s your responsibility to sound the alarm. I feel like this is my responsibility in a way.”
Greta goes to the 2019 climate summit in New York where world leaders congregrate. Her speech begins, “My name is Greta Thunberg, and I want you to panic. The world is waking up and change is coming whether you like it or not.” The speech ends with, “If you deal with problems in time instead of waiting, your problems won’t get as big because if you do that, you come out on the other side and there it’s better.”
Greta planted the seeds of hope and still runs her protests every Friday since 2018. Since that time, over 200 activists have been murdered for fighting for clean air. In 2019, more than seven million people joined Greta’s protest. Despite Greta’s efforts, the world is still not on track yet to meet the requirements for the Paris Climate Accord.
“We will not stop until we’re done” ~ Greta Thunberg
Below is the powerful trailer for ‘I am Greta’
If you’d like to visit Greta’s website for Climate Change Europe: https://climateemergencyeu.org/