A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power is the sequel to An Inconvenient Truth, the groundbreaking 2006 documentary about Al Gore's campaign to raise awareness about climate change. Less focused and more fragmented than the original, it still offers updated information, reasons to be hopeful, and more insight into Gore himself. It's very much worth seeing for middle school-age kids and up. But know that sensitive viewers may be upset by images of devastating storms and panicked, displaced people, as well as discussions of the wounded and dead and warnings of more possible devastation to come. While there's a brief image of a topless papier-mâché woman during a parade, language, drinking/drugs/smoking, and consumerism aren't issues.
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What's the story?
It's been a decade since the Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth was released in 2006, and, says Al Gore in AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL, there's still work to be done. Temperatures are rising, and storms and disasters are getting worse. Ice shelves are melting. Miami is flooding. The rising temperatures are causing other problems, like allowing mosquitos to carry terrible diseases. And "big money" seems to oppose all the possible solutions. But Gore's latest challenge comes when he learns that India plans to build hundreds of fossil-fuel burning plants, which would set his work back considerably. He must convince them to use solar or wind power before it's too late. Meanwhile, Gore has a hopeful visit to Georgetown, Texas, an overwhelmingly Republican city that's currently attempting to use 100% self-sustaining energy.
Is it any good?
This sequel to the original landmark documentary isn't as artistically pleasing as the first, but, as a source of information and a brief look into Gore's personal hopes and doubts, it's essential. It's hard to ignore the fact that An Inconvenient Sequel, subtitled "Truth to Power," suffers from poor timing, as most of the footage comes from before the November 2016 election. (A footnote describes how Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris Accord in June 2017.) It's also more fragmented than its predecessor, which was based around Gore's singular slide show.
Yet the information that comes across here is just as powerful, and its view of Gore is just as personal. He loses his temper during a presentation ("Couldn't you hear what the scientists were saying? Couldn't you hear what Mother Nature was screaming?") and apologizes for it. He admits for the camera that he sometimes wonders whether he's failed, though he continues to hope. He trains new leaders in the movement, and he provides glimpses at how far things have come, and how, slowly, thinking on this subject is changing for the better.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power's use of scary scenes/violence. How is it different from what you see in fictional or dramatic movies? How does the reality change its impact?
Is the movie scary? How is it different from a fictional scary movie? Are things that are unknown or yet to be revealed scarier than things that are known? Why?
What can regular people do to help combat the climate crisis? Where can you look for more information?
Why do you think climate change is a controversial issue?
- In theaters: July 28, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: October 24, 2017
- Cast: Al Gore
- Directors: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk
- Studios: Paramount Pictures, Paramount Vantage
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: Science and nature
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: thematic elements and some troubling images
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