An Inconvenient Truth
- compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2006 1 Jan
from Film Forum, 06/08/06
Is it a disaster movie? Or is the movie a disaster? Technically, An Inconvenient Truth is neither.
What is it, then? It's a documentary about signs of pending disaster for our planet, due to the effects of global warming. And it stands out as a memorable big screen experience for several reasons:
- It brings the threat of global warming to vivid life, so we can see what may happen, and what is already happening, to the world—damage that we have the power to prevent.
- It's hosted by Al Gore.
- It's the first time moviegoers have paid to fill a cinema for what amounts to a fancy PowerPoint presentation.
An Inconvenient Truth may be the year's most important must-see. Audiences lined up to watch heroes try to survive the sinking of the Poseidon. How many will buy tickets to learn how we can prevent natural disasters?
It's likely that many who read this are not fans of Gore's politics or personality—and recent reader feedback at Christianity Today Movies would indicate as much. That's fair. But pay close attention to the responses of those who have seen this movie, especially those who wouldn't identify themselves as liberals or democrats. They're finding value in the Truth as well. In fact, many evangelicals are standing with Gore on this issue.
In a commentary for Christianity Today Movies, David Neff takes issue with some of Gore's scientific arguments. But he writes that the movie is "an effective introduction to the subject of climate change." He adds that it "engages its audience with its moral seriousness and its avuncular and folksy style." And he concludes that Gore "wants action now—and he's right about that."
Mainstream critics are going so far as to become advocates for the film. "In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review," wrote Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times), "but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to." David Denby (The New Yorker) says, "It will be interesting to watch how skeptics will deal with Gore's bad news on the environment without making themselves look very small."
Tired of reading about it? Try listening: Here's an NPR report, in which Bob Mondello, NPR film critic, Richard Harris, NPR science correspondent, and reporter Michelle Norris discuss the film's artistic and scientific value.
Ken Morefield (Looking Closer) writes, "The consequences of the film's thesis being true … would be worldwide, so the film's participants and defenders can't quite seem to fathom why the responses to that thesis are so polarized along ideological and party lines. I can't quite understand why either, but I have my suspicions." He spells out those suspicions in the review.