2040 - Film Review

Updated: Dec 16, 2019

We thought we'd end up leaving the cinema in a miserable, blubby mess, stricken with grief. Instead, we left feeling full of positivity and hope.

Here, we give you our thoughts on Damon Gameau's new forward thinking documentary, 2040.

2019 is the year that we’ve watched footage of emaciated polar bears dragging themselves through ice-free landscapes in search of food, of koala bears burning to death in bushfires and of turtles strangled to death, trapped in plastic fishing lines. When I saw 2040 advertised at a local independent cinema as a film about climate change, I admit I had fears that I might be putting myself through more of the same.

Instead Damon Gameau, the Australian documentary maker, presents an optimistic yet practical vision for what our lives, our lifestyles and our Earth might look like in 2040. The film takes you through a journey from doughnut shaped economic models to marine permaculture, with brief stop overs at regenerative agricultural practices, decentralised energy generation and transport, to name a few, all presented in nice bite-sized chunks.

"quirky animations quickly become a recurring feature, providing moments of lightness to a film, already flooded with hope and positivity..."

Cutsie moments of school children declaring their dreams of a better tomorrow (rocket shoes – duh!) are interlaced with futuristic visions of 2040 narrated as a love-letter to his young daughter. In other scenes, experts are interviewed and, through visual effects, are often humorously reduced to small characters perched atop of an object or catching a ride in the Monopoly car.

At the start of the film, Gameau’s use of animation is a bit of a shock, when it’s used to illustrate what climate change is actually all about. At this point, I did raise an eyebrow and wonder to myself “oh God, what is this film going to be?”. My concerns were short lived, as these quirky animations quickly become a recurring feature, providing moments of lightness to a film, already flooded with hope and positivity.

The standout moment was Gameau’s final vision of 2040, where we join a woodland themed party (rave?) in full swing, celebrating the day where our carbon emissions start decreasing. The significance of this moment had really not crossed my mind up until this point, but actually a global party would be, perhaps, the only appropriate response to what would surely become one of the most epic days in modern history and something I pray that I get to see in my time.

Could this be the entire planet, one day in the next 20 years?

So, did I leave feeling inspired? Certainty. Would it make a good series? Yes. Did I feel like there were key actionable points I could take away and implement back at home? Maybe. Was it a film made with a school-age audience in mind? Quite possibly.

One thing I do know is that, in a time of an eco-anxiety pandemic among our society, this documentary doesn’t half do a bad job at painting a happier picture of times to come….so long as we’re already well under way to reducing our carbon emissions.

Find future screenings and further information here.

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