Documentarian (and admitted idealist) John Chester and his wife Molly (and their dog) bought 200 acres of drought-stricken, nutrient-free land outside Los Angeles with the somewhat naive goal of developing, mostly through trial-and-error, a self-sustaining farm in harmony with nature. Eight hard and sometimes heartbreaking years later, they had 10,000 fruit trees and 200 kinds of crops.
In the process, they tried some fascinating new symbiotic approaches, not all of which worked, but a few did spectacularly. There are lessons here to be learned by all of us about our increasingly precarious relationship with our planet.
For a documentary, there is at times real tension and drama, and the cinematography is stunning. It’s even gently amusing in places. On the down side, it’s a tad self-congratulatory and a little evasive as to where they got all the money to throw at new challenges. But this is a movie that will make you a better person.