Student Critic Maria Kamińska reviews
The Biggest Little Farm
(John Chester, USA, 2018)
The Biggest Little Farm is a charming and uplifting documentary which endorses the natural cycle of life. When well–established documentary director John Chester and his wife Molly decided to give up their big city life and set up a pesticide-free, ecological farm in California, their friends shook their heads. Their move, however, is the foundation of this powerful story about regaining the once-natural connection between man and the soil.
John and Molly, driven by a sense of vocation (or perhaps by their dog), prove that large-scale farming can be both sustainable and profitable if conducted with an awareness of natural processes. Their seven-year journey towards self-sufficiency and a more responsible agricultural practice is fraught with numerous difficulties, ranging from a snail outbreak to coyote attacks.
All of these obstacles are, however, substantial components of their self-imposed farming philosophy. Indeed, their admiration for nature’s complexity is the brightest part of this film, transforming what could be a mere personal diary into a universal reflection on the possible approaches towards natural habitats.
Visually immersed in wildlife documentary aesthetics The Biggest Little Farm examines these cross-species collaborations with fondness and wit, keeping a light tone even when tackling important environmental matters. Despite a couple of repetitive moments, the film's pace is steady and smooth to the very final scenes. Chester’s documentary is a hopeful voice in the discussion about individual responsibility for the climate crisis.