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My Octopus Teacher

Nov 21, 2020

You'll love her just as he does. Oh, you'll love this lyrical doc as well.

My Octopus Teacher

Grade: A
Directors: Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed
Screenplay: Ehrlich, Reed
Cast: Craig Foster, Tom Foster
Run Time: 1h 25m
Rating: NR
By John DeSando

“A lot of people say an octopus is like an alien. But the strange thing is, as you get closer to them, you realize that we're very similar in a lot of ways.” Craig Foster, Founder of Sea Change Project

A lot of people come to an undersea doc caring mainly for the spectacular cinemaphotography. Not so much here because the Netflix original, My Octopus Teacher, is all about the relationship between an invertebrate and a man--the photography helps rather than dominates.Herman Melville could have learned a thing or two from narrator and diver Craig Foster, whose gentle delivery draws you in the way his octopus love does. Melville could have minimized most of his delivery, whereas Foster and co-writer James Reed gently tell us about this lovely miniature wonder and her world in the simplest, most lyrical way.
She soothes us with her daily routine (Foster spends almost a year observing her without scuba tank (a year is the lifespan of the Octopus). 

She coyly draws him in like a lover. If you have your Octopus knowledge only from Jules Verne, you be astonished how small she is and loving—at one point, Foster caresses her, revealing how small she is, and vulnerable. Yet, she trusts him as well she should. See this masterpiece just to witness him lovingly holding her.

Foster adheres to the Star-Trek non-intervention mandate and watches how his beloved aqua woman is pursued by a hungry shark. Drama ensues with a slow-burning suspense most horror films would love to have.

You are likely to experience the mental cleansing the narrator did as he lost his depression, connected with his son, and found his place in the natural world, and thus the human world, while he became more intimate with her and her small world:

“What she taught me was to feel... that you're part of this place, not a visitor. That's a huge difference.” Foster