Title – My Octopus Teacher (2020)
Directors – Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed (Rise of the Warrior Apes)
Cast – Craig Foster
Plot – Finding himself in a low-point in his life, South African based film-maker and nature enthusiast Craig Foster gains solace in an unplanned friendship with a wild octopus.
What she taught me was to feel… that you’re part of this place, not a visitor. That’s a huge difference.
Review by Eddie on 16/10/2020
2020 being the year it is, there doesn’t seem to be anything odd about watching a documentary about a man who befriends and finds his life’s purpose once more in the form of a friendship with a wild octopus.
In what has to be one of the stranger documentaries to come our way in recent memories, Netflix’s My Octopus Teacher is a quite literal title for its original release as directors Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed explore the intriguing mid-life crisis of fellow filmmaker and South African based nature lover Craig Foster whose chance encounter upon an octopus on one of his daily swims set him on a path of self-discovery and reawakening as he dedicates himself to studying and building a bond with this wild creature.
At just over 80 minutes in length, Teacher draws about as much narrative juice as it can out of its rather confined and linear subject matters with the film broken down exclusively to Craig Foster narrating the story and his lessons from his kitchen table while footage he shot of his experiences making up a bulk of the action and while the film is no doubt hamstrung in parts by how much you can get out of such a true life story, there’s also little doubt that the film features a number of heart warming moments as well as some incredible action shots of one of the worlds most misunderstood creatures.
You don’t run into many casual fans of the Octopus, an alien like creature that many discount as creepy critter from the deep but Teacher showcases a whole different side to the incredibly smart animal that seems to gain mutual benefit from its interaction with Foster and strikes up an undeniable bond with the likeable gentle giant as the two become more comfortable in each others presence and learn from each other as they spend more and more time together.
It’s unlikely that you walk away from Teacher with any lifelong lessons but if your going through a tough period, a tough day or just want to feel the love a little this is the perfect film to remedy those situations and a game-changer for any Octopus naysayers out there.
Final Say –
A simple yet effective documentary, My Octopus Teacher is the type of film you never knew would exist or perhaps didn’t know you needed but its simple tale of friendship and acceptance makes for worthy viewing.
3 shell shields out of 5