“Time To Choose” What, Exactly?
“It is time to choose.” the documentary booms at the onset, going on to detail the extent of the destruction the environment is currently experiencing due to mankind. What it fails to tell us exactly, is what kind of choice we need to make. Certainly we as human beings watching the planet die want to tackle climate change. But there’s so much to discuss, and so many people already doing things we couldn’t begin to imagine. Where do we begin?
Rarely when walking out of a movie talking about climate change does one feel strangely uplifted. And even rarer does one feel patronized to. For whatever reason, these are the emotions churned up when watching Time to Choose. Narrated by Oscar Isaac, recently seen as Poe in the latest Star Wars film, Choose is a strange mix of ongoing problems and seemingly impossible to denounce solutions.
From the United States to Indonesia, grave environmental damage is shown onscreen. Desiccated mountains and forest fires abound as the narration reminds the viewer that as days go by, it gets worse. What is confusing is that these scenes are juxtaposed with ongoing solutions. Solar energy is booming in California, a trendsetting state for environmental response, and while corruption runs rampant in foreign countries, people are starting to slip through the cracks in OPEC’s armor.
The film is certainly unique. It shows us how the world is ending. Time to choose. What are we choosing? It seems like everyone else is doing the work for us. The film unintentionally presents a collective action response. While providing a link for people to attack the issues themselves, it doesn’t make it seem like we need to. With solar energy already in the works to be one of the less expensive sources of energy, people fighting huge companies in court, it begs the question of where others fit in. Not to mention the few stories that don’t get really resolved. An interviewee, we’re informed, died of stomach cancer soon after discussing a carcinogenic toxic spill. Is it related? A species of primates is going extinct because of deforestation- but there’s this one man saving them, and he seems to think they’ll be okay.
A fairly inspirational film that leaves the audience with a few too many questions- why did bad things keep happening to people interviewed several days after the interview?- , Choose is worth the watch, but also merits a trip to the website, where more concrete information can be found without the distraction of a primate sob story. Certainly not the same old climate change story.
We screened the film at the New York premiere at Sunshine Landmark. An after party followed at The Handy Liquor Bar, downstairs at Chalk Point Kitchen, where guests sipped on Material Vodka.