The Anthropologist full movie review - The Anthropologist
Over the course of five years, a mother and a daughter ? the mother, Susan Crate, being an anthropologist ? set out to study the impact of climate change on local communities across the globe. While the premise sounds promising, the film fails to deliver.
With not much to show for in terms of direction and editing, it all depends on the story it tries to tell; being that of local communities trying to cope with the effects of climate change. Unfortunately, the narrative comes across as unstructured, unbalanced and not very coherent due to shoddy filmmaking and uneven pacing.
In telling its story the film draws a parallel between the famous anthropologist Margaret Mead and Susan Crate. This comparison between Mead and Crate is unnecessary and ads little to the main message the film tries to convey. What's more is that the segments of Mead's daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson, only distract from the main storyline, something which affects the pacing negatively.
Overall, the whole mother-daughter relationship which is rather central to the film feels forced. The way this relationship is presented even gives it all an amateurish feel ? as if we are watching random philanthropists rather than real anthropologists.
Crate and her daughter travel to three different places to speak to the locals in order to learn how they remain resilient in the face of environmental threats and changes. While every case offers plenty of interesting content to delve into, we only have time to gloss over them briefly. The filmmakers only scratch the surface and present nothing substantial. In fact, the three case studies presented here actually feel like separate episodes which have been crammed into a ninety minute film without eye for a coherent narrative. Together with Mary Catherine Bateson's interjections the three cases make for a very cluttered film.
Had the film focused on only one of the case studies presented here then we might have been able to learn more about these people's lives, culture and coping mechanisms. In almost all cases, the people shown here live difficult lives and are all faced with the many challenges climate change brings. These people have a story to tell and an important message to convey yet in this film their voices are muted.
What we are left with in the end is an unimaginatively and unprofessionally told story that has trouble defining what it is exactly: both an anthropological and an environmental film? It is unclear what it tries to be and without having a true identity all one can say about it is this: it's disappointing, and frustratingly so.