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Climate activist Greta Thunberg is seen protesting against climate change in the documentary, I Am Greta.

Courtesy of Mongrel Media

  • I Am Greta
  • Directed by Nathan Grossman
  • Classification PG; 97 minutes

rating

2 out of 4 stars

Sometimes, documentary filmmakers' instincts pan out. Swedish director Nathan Grossman got close to the Thunberg family long before teenage daughter Greta became a worldwide star on the climate-advocacy circuit, which enabled him to trace her astounding cultural rise. But just because you get in on the ground floor doesn’t mean you enjoy a free ride to the top, and the longer I Am Greta goes on, the more clear it becomes that Grossman is content to just tag along for the ride, adding little cinematic depth or insight to the environmentalist’s trajectory.

Documentary director Nathan Grossman provides a whole lot of footage from Greta's rallies and meet-and-greets with world leaders.

Courtesy of Mongrel Media

If Grossman’s goal was to paint a portrait of just who Greta Thunberg is – where she came from, how her politics were shaped – then this can be mostly considered a squandered opportunity. With the exception of her father’s handful of appearances, we never find out much about how Greta was brought up, what led her to this moment. Instead, Grossman provides a whole lot of footage from her rallies and meet-and-greets with world leaders and famous friendly faces, and precious little behind-the-podium context.

“I want you to panic,” Greta tells politicians at one moment. But I Am Greta is bereft of urgency.

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I Am Greta opens Oct. 16 in select theatres across Canada

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