Movie review: 'Earth Days'

( Unrated ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

Far from doom and gloom, this documentary takes an engaging look at the history of the American environmental movement.

Five years in the making, "Earth Days," directed by Robert Stone, is a surprisingly engaging ecodocumentary about the history of the American environmental movement from the Depression era up to the present. I say "surprisingly" because I was steeling myself for another doom-and-gloom lecture and instead was treated to a superlative collection of archival footage (particularly from the 1950s, with its flabbergastingly inane car commercials) and self-deprecating talking heads – including Paul Ehrlich ("The Population Bomb") and Stewart Udall, the 1960s secretary of the Interior who pushed through important clean air and water reforms. Devotees of the "Whole Earth Catalogue" may regard this film as a nostalgia trip, but it's much more comprehensive, more forward-looking than that. Grade: B+

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