Parents' Guide to

Plastic Earth

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Busy, thorough docu explores solutions to plastic problem.

Movie NR 2023 100 minutes
Plastic Earth Movie Poster: A young girl wearing sunglasses collects empty plastic bottles on a beach

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 5+

Based on 1 parent review

age 5+

Learn about plastic pollution and how to solve it

This documentary film does an exceptional job explaining how and why the plastic crisis has come about; but more importantly, the film demonstrates several different ways to solve the problem. Petroleum-based plastics do not biodegrade, and thus last for 100s of years in the environment or landfills. If they do start to break down, they only break down into smaller and smaller pieces called microplastics that eventually get ingested or absorbed by animals, plants, and water that we as humans consequently consume. Although some of the data is complicated, the imagery shows younger audiences the enormity of the problem and how people are trying to solve it.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Overly busy, this documentary still undeniably provides plenty of fresh information on a pressing environmental problem, and the filmmakers have certainly done their legwork. Narrated by comic actor Rob Riggle, who also appears on camera and gets serious for a moment, Plastic Earth does try a little too hard. The many segments are fast and short, as if produced for a flashy children's educational video, and they may frequently leave you with questions. And then there's the endless parade of stock images and the constantly twittering and chirping musical score (and, heaven help us, songs), which all sounds like royalty-free stuff downloaded from the internet. Still, Overbeck and company have clearly put a lot of work into surfacing a wide variety of good, smart people who've come up with amazing solutions, big and small. The featured ideas range from a waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen that doubles as a sports park to a method of removing plastic from waterways using bubbles. Plastic Earth doesn't let people off the hook, however: This is a problem that still needs action, and each and every one of us can -- and should -- help.

Movie Details

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