I Am Greta
Few stories of resistance have had the same gravitational pull as Greta Thunberg’s. The combative teenager started a global movement to force politicians to adhere to the commitments they failed to follow through on at the Paris Agreement in 2015. Her speeches at the U.N. have become iconic, and she’s become the unfortunate target for every hair-brained pundit looking to leverage her rise to fame for their own personal gain.
Nathan Grossman’s powerful and balanced documentary I Am Greta seeks to cut through the white noise to deliver a startling portrait of a young girl who decided to take a stand against forces far bigger than her. The film starts at the beginning of Greta’s resistance. She is alone outside the Swedish parliament with a small, homemade sign. Older strangers approach her and tell her to go back to school, but she remains alone. As the election comes closer, she is joined by a couple of classmates and then dozens of young people.
We see this small movement gather steam as Greta persists with her goal. She establishes Fridays for Future, a weekly school strike that grows in importance. She is invited to speak at the U.N, where she is disappointed by the lip service she receives from heads of state. We have seen these moments on the news, but what Grossman offers is a poignant insight behind the scenes. Her father plays an important role, driving her to important summits, preparing her lunch in hotel rooms, making sure she eats even when she doesn’t want to. The responsibility Greta has taken on is enormous, and this is highlighted by these moments, reminders of her tender age.
Greta’s voiceover gives her the power to tell her story in her own words – the struggles with her autism, social pressure in school, her frustration at these well-meaning politicians. The audience is dropped in the perfect storm of media frenzy that swirled around the teenager, and the result is a dizzying, exhilarating ride.
I Am Greta balances a poignant rise-and-rise story of a David-vs-Goliath figure with genuine insight behind the scenes into the real journey of this determined outsider.
I Am Greta is released in select cinemas on 16th October 2020.
Watch the trailer for I Am Greta here: