Parents' Guide to

Kayak to Klemtu

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Drama with pro-environment message has some cursing.

Movie NR 2018 91 minutes
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This film works best when the story is presented through action and scenery. The beauty and grandeur of the Inside Passage near the coast of British Columbia "says" it so much better than any monologue or dialogue presented in Kayak to Klemtu. Speech almost seems superfluous. The pro-environment message comes in loud, clear, and true, despite a story that is more or less a typical "road trip" drama in which characters undergo profound change within themselves and their relationships with each other while traveling from Point A to Point B. It's an earnest message, best revealed through the breathtaking land and seascape.

As the native Archie Bunker archetype, Lorne Cardinal steals just about every scene he's in as the cranky and exasperated Uncle Don. Don's character seems to be presented as a counterbalance to the movie's strong pro-environmental message. His lengthy tirade, during which he rants about environmentalists (they wear patchouli, drink fancy coffee, are from California, etc.), serves to reveal that the movie is as much about community and tradition as it is protecting waterways from oil tankers, and also -- intentionally or not -- highlights the movie's paradoxes. For instance, immediately after a scene in which the teen boy lead character is traumatized by seeing a skinned bear in the cab of a hunter's truck, the four lead characters stop and get burgers at a fast food joint. In a movie about the evils of oil tankers and their negative impact on the environment, the lead characters resort to taking a gas-powered boat to get to their destination on time. Perhaps this is quibbling, but a movie centered on outside forces threatening an ecosystem and the way of life of those who have lived in that ecosystem for thousands of years could have spent some time looking at how individual choices, no matter how small, play a role in the bigger picture.

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