By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
How to Let Go of the World is another one of “those” documentaries; two hours of doom, gloom, and intensely disturbing evidence that we’re heading to Hell in a supercharged V12 handbasket as fast as that baby will fly.
And in comfort and style!
It’s more than that, though, as filmmaker Josh Fox (of the Oscar-nominated fracking doc Gasland) pummels us and himself into a depression at the inevitability of it all, then sets forth to find people around the world on the front lines of environmental devastation, from rapidly disappearing Pacific Islands to smog-choked Beijing to the very edge of the slashed-and-burned rainforest, and see how they are adapting to it.
Fox certainly delivers the doom and gloom, from personally-shot footage of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy to expert after expert detailing the extent to which we’ve fucked our planet, continue to fuck our planet in spite of and even through the high-profile international summits meant to prevent this, and probably have already irreparably fucked our planet (turns out even if we halt all unnatural greenhouse gas production immediately, the greenhouse gasses already in our atmosphere will continue to heat the Earth 0.5-1 degrees over the next several years… and that’s an average).
Some parts are a tad hotter than others.
The latter half of this film may serve as a less cogent thesis, but what Fox finds in some of the areas of the world most affected by climate change does instill hope. People all over the world are joining up and successfully fighting back against energy conglomerates and “developers”, while others are innovating in incredible ways, like a Chinese solar energy Tony Stark who has the first solar panel installed on the White House in his personal collection. Jimmy Carter, after installing it, predicted it would either become a museum piece or the start of a revolution. Ronald Reagan removed it the very next year.
Fox can seem almost laughably condescending at times. Trees take in CO2 and emit oxygen, and humans and animals do the opposite. Gee, thanks for the info, Josh. That changes everything!
Eat up, trees!
Fox is the film’s best friend and worst enemy to the latter, he’s clearly not above Michael Moore-ing up some excess drama, and some of his strangely muddled political naivety (China’s Communist… and you can still get rich there? Wow! Banyan Tree Democracy is totally scalable!) puts your eyebrows at risk of forever melding with your hairline.
How to Let Go of the World is a (perhaps a touch too) impassioned plea to do something, anything to save our planet, and a celebration of those who are.
How to Let Go of the World (2016) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for each new location
Take a Drink: for each new chapter title
Take a Drink: for environmental destruction
Take a Drink: for people who inspire hope
Do a Shot: whenever Josh dances