'The Biggest Little Farm' was a very big surprise. I went in thinking it would be all "E-I-E-I-O" and came out the other end only having said, "Oh!" What's great about this film is how timely it is - especially with the current events happening in Australia, regarding bushfires. No, the film isn't about climate change, but it does discuss sustainability and treatment of the land. To further this point, it's about letting Mother Nature do her thing and people enabling the environment, flora and fauna to work in relationship with each other. It captures and teaches the way farming should happen and how knowledge of biodiversity and ecology are beneficial to living in harmony.
The documentary charters the life journey of John and Molly Chester as they attempt to build a 200-acre sustainable farm. Through home video and professional grabs, they share the reality of their seven-year journey with audiences across the world. After buying hard soiled land just outside of Los Angeles, they call upon mentor Alan York to help them on their transformative mission.
The film's honesty is refreshing. It doesn't hide the challenges John and Molly had to endure for the sake of the audience. We go through everything they did, and there really is no sugar-coating the life of a farmer. We witness death, hardship, work, failure, and more death. I've never seen so many dead chickens on a screen.
What's even greater is the film's capability to teach as it goes. Through unveiling his own learning curves, John narrates and teaches his lessons learnt whilst visually aiding audiences. It's inspiring to see and feel a part of John and Molly's education. John always paces the story, ensuring we are always half a step behind. What I appreciated about this is the generosity of the storyteller in giving the audience time to have their own realisations. I was allowed multiple "Aha" moments when I was able to figure out the solutions to the problems through what he was showing me before John concluded with narrating their experience. At times, the narration does get a little "arty", with lessons being poetically explained through animals or grand epiphanies. It's not necessary, but I can see that it was added in for the purpose of entertainment.
'The Biggest Little Farm' is inspiring, not only for its demonstration of the power of nature, but because it details the success story of people.
'The Biggest Little Farm' is inspiring, not only for its demonstration of the power of nature, but because it details the success story of people. It's a film about dreamers and the success of a goal, which is made only more promising through the story being born out of reality. John and Molly's positivity and creativity to showcase their effort, sustained energy and faith in their plans and goals is nothing short of encouraging. This film documents how we should live: with an appreciation of the balance of Mother Nature and with a fearless tenacity to live out our dreams.