• Review: Love Thy Nature (2016)

    From Mark R. Leeper@21:1/5 to All on Wed Apr 20 12:38:37 2016
    (a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

    CAPSULE: Here we have some important messages presented
    in what is too frequently a patronizing style. LOVE THY
    NATURE starts as a admiring look at the spectacular
    natural world and humans' position within and along side
    of nature. Nature really is something to love right now,
    as the title says. The message is true but the
    presentation style talks down to the viewer. It would
    be a sad commentary if we need to be patronized if we
    are going to accept the message. Sylvie Rokab co-writes
    and directs and is one of three cinematographers.
    Rating: low +1 (-4 to +4) or 5/10

    This is a film that mesmerizes the viewer with some terrific nature
    photography to remind the observer how much he/she should be loving
    nature, and in doing so talks down to the viewer. I saw it on a
    big screen TV and I wish it had been on a full-sized theater screen
    to appreciate the spectacular nature photography. But when the
    film shows people it shows views of happy people enjoying being in
    nature like an illustration from a Watchtower tract.

    Liam Neeson narrates the film calling himself "Homo Sapiens
    Sapiens." In other words, he is at times pretending to be the
    spirit of humanity. Yet he also is upbraiding humanity for its bad
    habits. So some of the message is much needed but confused. Also
    all too much of the message is laced with New Age ideas, some of
    which are actually dangerous. As an example, the film recommends
    natural herbal cures preferentially over mainstream medicine. It
    reassures the viewer that if the herbal cures do not work the
    viewer an fall back on mainstream medical therapy. (A woman I
    worked with was taking herbal medicine for her very severe
    headaches. She died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage.) Not all
    the advice the film gives is anywhere near such bad suggestions,
    but the viewer may do better to accept or reject points made by the
    film on a piece-by-piece basis. One should not accept all the
    ideas without some prudent skepticism.

    The film is of an uneven visual style with most of the nature
    photography toward the beginning. The film's approach is rather
    scattershot. It will be talking one minute about how we have a
    symbiotic relationship with trees and their photosynthesis, and
    then it will be talking about global warming. Having an excellent
    actor like Liam Neeson narrate could be a real asset to the film,
    but having him represent all of humanity is bothersome. Elsewhere
    the film has major figures in conservation interviewed, including
    people like Andy Lipkis, founder of the tree conservation group the
    TreePeople. One moment the film can be interviewing a respectable
    expert on the science of his subject and the next we will be seeing
    an animated bee puppet.

    This is a documentary that has its heart in the right place,
    presenting many challenging issues facing humanity with varying
    degrees of optimism. For me the film would have worked better if
    it had a greater degree of trust for the intelligence of its
    viewer. And to some extent the film also seems to be preaching to
    the choir. Most of the film's viewers will probably already
    believe the messages of the film before they even see it. I rate
    LOVE THY NATURE a low +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 5/10.

    Film Credits:

    What others are saying:

    Mark R. Leeper
    Copyright 2016 Mark R. Leeper

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