Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
2040 Movie Poster Image
Hopeful docu about ways to help save the environment.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 92 minutes

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Kids say

age 6+
Based on 3 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Viewers will learn a lot about various aspects of the environment and what steps we can take to decrease human impact on it. The film explores marine permaculture, urban gardening, regenerative farming, solar energy, education, driverless transportation, and more.

Positive Messages

Promotes the hope of an environmentally viable and thriving future. Encourages people to take actionable steps in the next two decades to ensure that we alter the trajectory of climate change and lower our collective carbon footprints in order to live more sustainably.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Damon is dedicated to creating a greener, more environmentally friendly future -- not only for his daughter, but for the whole next generation. He and the various experts he interviews and consults have plans they believe can help everyone take steps to make the future more viable for humanity, the land, the animals, and the entire Earth.

Violence & Scariness

Brief mentions of what happens when girls aren't educated in some parts of the world, like early marriage/motherhood.

Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 2040 is a climate-change documentary that promotes the hope of an environmentally viable, thriving future. Australian actor/director Damon Gameau travels the world talking to experts in various fields like energy, food, farms, marine biology, and education to figure out what steps humans can take to reverse the course of environmental destruction and seek a better future by the year 2040. The film uses computer-generated visual effects and actors to envision what 2040 could look like if everyone heeds the call to reduce their carbon footprint. There's nothing really iffy in the documentary, but there are a few brief references to alternative scenarios (as well as to early marriage/motherhood in areas where girls aren't educated). And some of the environmental and scientific concepts might be difficult for really young kids to understand. Ultimately, though, the documentary invites conversation and activism and comes with built-in resources for further exploration.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written byPensieve September 13, 2020

Gives Me Hope About The Future

This is top-notch climate science depicted in simple terms and clear, creative metaphors.
It shows us what we can do to combat climate change, and that we alre... Continue reading
Kid, 7 years old June 5, 2020

What's the story?

2040 is an original take on turning the tide on environmental destruction. In it, Australian actor-director Damon Gameau explains that, for the sake of his 4-year-old daughter, Velvet, he's going to travel the world meeting with experts in various fields to make the near future better for their adulthoods. Gameau also interviews children asking them what they want and hope for the future. Then he speaks to innovators and specialists in everything from micro-grid solar energy, communal driver-less transportation, and marine permaculture to the global need for educating girls and the importance of eating less meat and investing in regenerative farming. Using visual effects, set design, and make up, the film also shows how happy, productive, and green the future could be if we collectively embrace some of these innovations.

Is it any good?

This is a hopeful, even sweet look at what the future could be like for the next generation if the world embraces actionable steps to save the Earth. Gameau's strategy is simple: He interviews kids who share their dreams, speaks to international experts, and then acts in brief dramtizations of what the year 2040 might be like, focusing on the 24-year-old version of Velvet (played by Eva Lazzaro). Occasionally the vignettes about the future can be a little corny (gray, wrinkled versions of Damon and his wife Zoë Tuckwell-Smith appear doing couples' yoga, dancing, telling "dad jokes" and otherwise embarrassing their daughter), but it's still pleasant and will resonate with parents with young children.

Gameau's heart is big, and so are the documentary's messages. But despite how easy and no-nonsense Gameau makes these environmental changes seem, more cynical viewers will know that it's going to take a massive paradigm shift to implement some, if not all, of the proposed solutions on the scale necessary to move the needle in the right direction. Still, it's wonderful to see a documentary about climate change that isn't focused on impending doom but rather on the myriad ways that each person, each family, each community can make a considerable difference -- in how we eat, get around, garden, use our energy, and, most important, how we learn, believe, and do.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Damon Gameau and the experts he consults demonstrate compassion, communication, and curiosity. Why are those important character strengths? How can families work on those traits?

  • Does the documentary make you want to be more mindful about environmental issues such as food, farming, energy and transportation?

  • Which of Gameau's steps for a more environmentally minded future do you think could happen? What steps can you take to ensure that it will?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

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