I am Greta, a Hulu Original documentary film that premieres November 13th, offers viewers an intimate look at the young climate change activist Greta Thunberg. Starting with footage from her early solo protests in Sweden, the film tracks her growing worldwide popularity and the movement she helped inspire. It also tells the story of a girl with Asperger syndrome and how it affects her personality and mission.
Directed by Nathan Grossman, the film immediately grabs your attention with opening credits harvested from world leaders and news commentators denying climate change to set the scene of the events that led to Greta’s decision to go on strike from school at the age of fifteen, sitting outside Stockholm’s parliament to raise awareness for the need for immediate change. You likely already know Greta’s name, but it’s remarkable to see how fast her strike grew for a girl who typically prefers the company of her dogs and horse to peers at school.
You wouldn’t want a film like I am Greta to be a passive viewing experience anyway, but because the bilingual focus of the documentary switches between speaking in Swedish and English, about half of the documentary is subtitled. The filmmakers have chosen not to include a narrator, letting viewers see events play out with occasional flashbacks that use home video footage of Greta’s early years. A celebratory haul from a Disney Store in Paris when she was younger is juxtaposed against a teenager who doesn’t eat meat or dairy, only buys second-hand clothes, and won’t travel by air in effort to reduce her carbon footprint as much as possible.
In my conscience, Greta Thunberg just appeared one day in news headlines about climate change. How that news made its way to me and you is another aspect of the documentary and I was surprised to find out that Arnold Schwarzenegger played a big role in that, one of the first celebrities to retweet the teenage activist. It also goes into things Greta doesn’t mention in her speeches, the bullying she endured, the death threats she’s received, and the ignorant comments made about her Asperger’s syndrome by public figures and public commentators. Without making statements, the documentary puts them all to shame.
One aspect of I am Greta that became an unexpected delight was the relationship between Greta and her father. He accompanies her on all of her travels and supports his daughter’s dreams selflessly. They never talk about what he does outside of her life, but you get the sense that his world revolves around her and scenes where she’s reading negative comments or finding herself misquoted often involve him working to calm her down and create some constancy amongst the chaotic whirlwind of media attention.
There are many things about Greta Thunberg that inspire people and I am Greta shows new aspects of this incredible role model that many of her fans likely don’t know. She’s not only a climate change hero, but a voice for people with Aspergers.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.