Parents' Guide to

Antarctica: A Year on Ice

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Incredible docu captures human details of remote existence.

Movie PG 2014 91 minutes
Antarctica: A Year on Ice Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 8+

Slow pace, interesting facts

My class watched this documentary during our lunchtime "documentary club". It related to a unit about the Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems. It was very interesting to see the different types of jobs that need to be done in Antarctica, especially since many informational texts for this age only mention scientists living there. The pace was slow, so it may not be very engaging unless children are particularly interested in this topic.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

Though life in Antarctica is challenging, this absorbing movie makes it look incredibly rewarding. Powell apparently spent 10 years making Antarctica: A Year on Ice, suffering frozen camera equipment and other setbacks. He doesn't focus on what the stations actually research, he rarely interviews scientists, and the climate crisis is only briefly alluded to. Rather, he focuses on everyday workers, mechanics, clerks, and administrators who help run things. The summer season then sharply clashes with the intense physical and emotional experience of a few dozen souls braving the winter months.

Powell doesn't let tiny details slip by -- like frozen bathroom pipes, 200-mile-an-hour winds, cravings for fresh vegetables, missing out on family events back home, and the very odd "T3 Syndrome," wherein workers very simply forget things they were doing just moments before. Workers aren't allowed to interfere with nature, so they can't rescue a lost baby seal, but they are allowed to fall in love, and Powell gets his own happy ending.

Movie Details

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