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film review

For nine months Suzanne Crocker and her family chose to live in a log cabin with no running or electricity.

Suzanne Crocker went to the woods with her husband, three kids and their pets because she wished to live deliberately. The possessions they portaged to a log cabin with no running water or electricity in the remote Yukon bush included no computers or clocks. No Internet, either. Crocker did, however, bring a video camera. Framed by the passing of seasons, she chronicles their time off the grid and captures how even with the day-to-day challenges, they become more connected to what matters. In an age when work-life balance seems a constant but unattainable goal, the parents get to know their kids better through homeschooling, chores and activities. The disconnection has an especially powerful effect on the creativity of all involved, as they read aloud and engage in imaginative play, such as the believable creation of a magical mailbox "that goes anyplace, mythical or not mythical," one of the kids explains – wise in the moment and even more so in the hindsight voice-overs they all contribute. After a fitting nine months they are reborn to civilization, with a new attitude. It's an engrossing nature documentary – of human nature – and while for most it is also a fairy tale, the takeaway can be vicarious.

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