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The Age of Stupid

Movie directed by Franny Armstrong (2009, UK)

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Climate change or not, you need to see this film

  • Apr 20, 2010
Rating:
+4
I was very excited to find out The Age of Stupid would premiere in the US on television on Planet Green on April 17th, 2010. I really wanted to watch it on my big screen (which I felt guilty about after the movie actually). Honestly, I expected more of a 'Wow' from this much anticipated film, hence the +4 rating. For what it is though - a low budget documentary attempting to make a huge impact, it was great. I will attempt at explaining how I feel about the movie and at convincing you it is worth watching, without giving away any of the film itself! 

First, let me say what this film is not. It's not entirely about science, it is more about politics, economics, and society. It is not post-apocalyptic, but it is viewed from that perspective. It's not entirely a documentary, though for the most part it is. It is not An Inconvenient Truth: Part Deux. It is not a brainwashing type of movie, it is painfully realistic. It is the best attempt I have seen to date at shaking people out of apathy. 

It reminded me a little of the movie Babel (2006) because it simultaneously follows the plight of different people around the world that are somehow interconnected. This is different though, because the factor that connects them is climate change. Now, whether you believe in climate change or not, it does not matter here. It will not make you like the movie less or more. That's because these are real people, real stories, and a real crisis. It does not focus on throwing scientific facts or evidence in our face. Rather it focuses on the people. With a good dose of people's stubborn stupidity. 

Occasionally it feels like the movie lacked clear direction. Although I felt that was intentional. I also might add that it does play on emotion as we are led through the personal experiences of people worldwide. Some may argue that it is anti-American. Yes, it is in some ways. Why? Maybe because an average American consumes everything at a rate about twice the average European and about 250 times a Tanzanian? Maybe because now Americans have made themselves thousands of enemies in the face of Iraqi children whose parents were killed by Americans. Maybe. That's what war does. Is it an anti-war movie? Indirectly, yes. If that's what comes to mind when children talk about their parents killed in war. Inevitably, it does focus on war because it focuses on oil.

It is gut wrenching at times. If your conscience is alive and well that is. If you live in a western culture (like myself) in a comfortable home, with running water, electricity that you use when you please, it will wake you up. It grabs you and gives you a much needed shakedown. We are so complacent in our culture of convenience, I don't think even 20% of us realize the full extent of what is going on in the world. You need to see this movie, please do. If not for yourself, at least for your children and grandchildren. 

The title says a lot about the movie. It is perfect really. A perfect title for the age we are living in. The age where people do not think about how their actions affect people around the world. The age of indulgence, desire, and consumerism. The age of big, bigger, and biggest. It's not something new, there is nothing new under the sun. It is just that now, more than ever, the stupidity is in plain view - and people even flaunt it. 

I highly recommend watching this, especially if you are:

  • addicted to shopping
  • calling yourself 'green'
  • an environmentalist
  • under the age of 90
  • an American
  • living in a large house or mansion
  • have more than 100 square feet of living space per person
  • driving an inefficient SUV
  • buying cheap stuff made in China by underpaid workers
  • [that should pretty much cover everyone]

It made me angry. If you see it, you'll know what I mean. Righteous anger? Just don't automatically assume I am a liberal if you have already seen the film. You are mistaken, I am not. 
Climate change or not, you need to see this film

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July 11, 2011
This sounds like a good movie but the title is a total turnoff.
 
December 03, 2010
It's more or less the age of excessive greed! The sad thing about society is that people who most need to watch this kind of stuff will usually not watched it! Great stuff you've here :-)
December 05, 2010
You're right, that is the sad thing. It is mostly watched by people who already curb their consumption and think about other before spending more money on useless junk they would do just fine without. But I'm sure it will be a new concept for many who see it!
 
May 05, 2010
This sounds interesting and don't worry, only a very prejudiced and narrow-minded person would call you a liberal. Reverence for the Earth or nature isn't rooted in politics anyway, but rather in the ability to empathize and appreciate life in all its beautiful variety and complexity. I'm intrigued by your mention of the film Babel as a comparison for the film's multiple story lines. I loved that film, so this would probably also appeal to me. Great job on this one!
May 05, 2010
Thanks Sean :) Yes, I certainly "appreciate life in all its beautiful variety and complexity". I also though Babel was a really good film, you would certainly like this as well. See the updated wiki for a link to a download!
 
May 05, 2010

I am on this--I like stuff with a good commentary. "The title says a lot about the movie. It is perfect really. A perfect title for the age we are living in. The age where people do not think about how their actions affect people around the world. The age of indulgence, desire, and consumerism. The age of big, bigger, and biggest. It's not something new, there is nothing new under the sun. It is just that now, more than ever, the stupidity is in plain view - and people even flaunt it."
 

Really got my attention. Nice work! 
 

May 05, 2010
Thanks Will! Working on my writing skills, hehe... I just mentioned to Paul that I've updated the wiki with a link to their website where you can download the film. Enjoy!
 
May 05, 2010
Thanks for a great review. You definitely made me want to see this film. You make a whole host of excellent points. When you consider that many people in Third World nations have to burn dung just to cook their food and people in the Arctic are suffering the ravages of the chemicals we use down here your heart just goes out. We all need to rethink when and how we use precious energy. Thanks for the heads up on this one. I hope I can get to see this in the near future!
May 05, 2010
Glad my review caught your attention! I've updated the wiki with a link to their website where you can actually download the film (free if you are poor or paid if you consider yourself rich).
 
April 30, 2010
Found it on Netflix and will watch it. Thanks for the recommendation.
May 01, 2010
You're welcome!
 
April 23, 2010
Sounds intriguing. I fall into a couple of the categories above...so maybe it should be required watching...
April 26, 2010
Glad to have intrigued you :) I think you would like it, perhaps you'll find some things to disagree with, but for the most part I think you would enjoy it!
 
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More The Age of Stupid reviews
Quick Tip by . April 19, 2010
posted in Reel Overseas
If you think it is not your type of movie, you should definitely see it. It's not conventional. Thought provoking to say the least!
About the reviewer
Anastasia B ()
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I am a woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a friend, a Christ follower, an Interior Designer, a blog author, a cook, an artist, an eco-conscious consumer, a nature lover, … more
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About this movie

Wiki

The Age of Stupid is a 2009 film by Director Franny Armstrong (McLibel, Drowned Out) and first-time producer Lizzie Gillett. It is a co-production between Franny's company Spanner Films and Executive Producer John Battsek's (One Day In September) company Passion Pictures.

Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite stars as a man living alone in the devastated future world of 2055, looking at old footage from 2008 and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance? 

The production was notable for its innovative way crowd-funding financing model, as well as the Indie Screenings distribution system which allows anyone anywhere to screen the film. The full story of the production of the film is told in the 50-minute Making Of documentary which is free to watch online and also available on the double-pack DVD.

The film was released in 2009 and became one of the most talked-about films of the year. It also spawned the hugely-successful 10:10 campaign.


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