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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie's global message is an important lesson in economics -- that a purchase of fair trade coffee (or anything, really) at your local coffee shop can and does have positive repercussions for small farmers around the world. Jackman's connection to Dukale shows how two people from vastly different backgrounds and experiences can influence each other.
Positive Role Models
Jackman and Furness are undeniably positive role models. They use Jackman's visibility to champion the cause of fair-trade coffee, then take it a step further by creating Laughing Man Coffee. Dukale is a devoted coffee farmer, father, and husband. His wife is similarly committed to the family business; she also helps run a cafe with the coffee they grow.
Products & Purchases
At the end of the documentary, the focus shifts to Laughing Man Coffee -- a company owned by Jackman himself.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dukale's Dream is a documentary focusing on the humanitarian efforts of actor Hugh Jackman and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness through the charity World Vision Australia. While on a field visit to Ethiopia, Jackman and Furness meet struggling young coffee farmer Dukale; the friendship spurs Jackman to turn promoting and eventually selling fair-trade coffee into a personal mission. There's no inappropriate content in the documentary, but younger kids may not understand the social or economic context of the story. But older tweens and teens will learn how humanitarianism, the global economy, and personal consumer habits can have positive effects on poor farmers in Third World countries. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Dukale's Dream is a sweet and well-intentioned documentary about superstar Jackman's life-changing connection with Dukale, a struggling Ethiopian coffee farmer. But by the end, the film can't escape a slightly bitter aftertaste of self promotion. Had the filmmaker spent slightly more time covering the Ethiopian economy -- and the way the coffee farmers were profiting from Jackman's efforts -- the movie wouldn't feel quite as much like an infomercial. The parts in Ethiopia are the best because -- as Furness points out -- there's something magical about seeing a farmer who's happy to work the land plant coffee trees alongside a movie star who lives in a $25 million apartment.
Jackman looks positively at ease sweating and digging in the dirt and playing with little Ethiopian kids, some of whom recognize him as Wolverine. And it's definitely remarkable that meeting Dukale inspired Jackman and Furness to vow never to drink coffee unless it's fair trade. Even the fact that Jackman starts a coffee business is great in theory -- but the way it's filmed comes off like an in-house video for a shareholders' meeting. It's a slightly less impactful ending to what's otherwise a powerful message about making every dollar count and how one influential person's generosity can make a world of difference.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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