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The Age of Stupid

4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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The Age of Stupid imagines the world in 2055, devastated by the disastrous effects of climate change. Humanity’s sole survivor (Pete Postlethwaite) takes refuge in an Arctic storage facility, compiling archive footage from 1950-2008 to discover what went wrong. Director Fanny Armstrong presents a fascinating mosaic of people whose lives have been deeply affected by global warming, including a Hurricane Katrina survivor, an elderly French mountain guide, and an 8-year-old Iraq war refugee. Their stories show the ravages of climate change and suggest, in some cases, possible solutions for a more hopeful future.


"A much sterner and more alarming polemic than 'An Inconvenient Truth.' " -- Stephen Holden, New York Times

"Bold, supremely provocative, and hugely important, her film is a cry from the heart as much as a roar for necessary change." -- Sukhdev Sandhu, The Daily Telegraph

"Provides a visual and emotional power that drives home this absorbing film's crucial cautionary message." -- Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times

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Most helpful customer reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By Gary Fuhrman TOP 50 REVIEWER
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Many recent documentaries (some of them excellent) have alerted us to the urgency of reversing human impact on the global environment, usually ending with more or less concrete proposals of what can be (or is being) done to address the challenge. The Age of Stupid approaches the whole issue from the other end, by framing its documentary footage with the scenario that it's too late, that we've already failed to save ourselves. The question it poses to us is why we failed even though the disastrous results of our failure were clearly predictable.

As with good science fiction, the result is thought-provoking not because it presents a plausible future (although it does that), but because it opens up the question of why we do the things we do (even when they are obviously suicidal). It works by replacing some of our habitual assumptions, which are often little more than wishful thinking, with a more scientifically informed and realistic (though fictional) perspective. And the film brings this home to us by focussing on specific people: a young Nigerian woman, an Iraqi family, a French guide who has watched the Alpine glaciers melt for decades, a UK couple trying to reduce their ecological footprint, and an oil company scientist who lost everything to Hurricane Katrina. All of them are, in their different ways, trying to cope with what amounts to a massive oil spill -- more literally, with the effects of Western society's addiction to oil-fueled consumption mania.

Despite what the title may suggest, the film's answer to the question of why we failed to save ourselves is neither simple nor cynical. You have to work it out for yourself, drawing on your empathy with the very real folks who appear in the film.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The stuff of sleepless nights - but understated Aug. 1 2010
I agree with the other three reviews (at the time I wrote this). Its a different approach. The ordinary people in the non-fiction part of the documentaries are just telling their story in their own words. I found it spell binding, inspirational, scary and depressing by turns. These folks do not all even think about climate change or agree about its causes or what should be done about it. They each however have observed in the course of their lives things that can help us to understand where we are going and perhaps a little of why. The depressing question that it raises to me is similar to Carl Sagan's remark about the survival value of human intelligence being an unproven thing as yet or Steven Pinker's observation that evolution has imbued us with ethical impulses but he is not sure that we know how to use them: is the nature of human intelligence such that very few of our children/grandchildren will survive the next 40 years? Will those that do curse us for the stupidity of our age?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars genius July 28 2010
This film is powerful and poignant. Presented anecdotally from the future as a series of flashbacks, it leaves a very mournful impression of what is currently happening and paints a compelling picture of the results of current trends. I would have appreciated more expert interviews, but this film instead chose to focus on using extracts from popular media up to the present, with fabricated media for future scenes: a very unique and clever approach. Very worthwhile viewing.
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