Weight of the world on Greta’s shoul­ders

Daily Express - - WEEKEND FILMS - Andy Lea

TEENAGE eco- war­rior Greta Thun­berg has never flinched from speak­ing the truth to the planet’s most pow­er­ful peo­ple. Sadly, Swedish film- maker Nathan Gross­man lacks that same con­vic­tion in this dis­ap­point­ingly timid doc­u­men­tary.

Gross­man caught this story early, film­ing the then- 15- year- old in 2018 when she was a lone pro­tester out­side the Swedish par­lia­ment. While his cam­era catches her dizzy­ing rise to the head of a global move­ment, it al­ways keeps a tact­ful dis­tance from its sub­ject.

That is un­der­stand­able. For much of his film, Thun­berg is a vul­ner­a­ble child and Gross­man wouldn’t want to sup­ply her army of at­tack­ers with fresh am­mu­ni­tion.

But by adopt­ing a purely ob­ser­va­tional stance as we fol­low her across Europe and then the At­lantic to be­rate au­di­ences, his film feels short on rev­e­la­tions.

We see a fair bit of her dad Svante but only get a cou­ple of glimpses of her mum, the singer Malena Ern­man. She rep­re­sented Swe­den in the Euro­vi­sion Song Con­test in 2009 and gave up fly­ing and thus her ca­reer to pla­cate her daugh­ter. But the film fails to men­tion any of this. Per­haps Gross­man feared that turn­ing his film into a hu­man in­ter­est piece would de­tract from the se­ri­ous­ness of his sub­ject.

But he’s equally ret­i­cent when it comes to ex­plain­ing the science be­hind global warm­ing, which was pre­cisely what trans­formed a shy girl with Asperger’s into a mod­ern- day Joan Of Arc. How­ever, even from a dis­tance, Greta comes across as a fas­ci­nat­ing and hugely im­pres­sive young wo­man. She views her Asperger’s di­ag­no­sis as a su­per­power.

Af­ter an adult poses a clum­sily phrased ques­tion about her “con­di­tion”, her quick­fire re­tort is: “I didn’t say I suf­fered.” Her dad is clearly de­voted to her but you can guess why he looks so ex­hausted.

IM­PRES­SIVE: Fear­less cli­mate change ac­tivist Greta Thun­berg

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