Kiss the Ground

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Kiss the Ground Movie Poster Image
Thoughtful docu addresses solutions to soil erosion crisis.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 84 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

While it paints a bleak portrait of what to expect in the near future if contemporary farming methods continue, this documentary looks at some of the ways in which we can address this problem, collectively and individually.

Positive Role Models

Scientists, farmers, activists, and celebrities are shown constructively addressing the problems of massive soil erosion throughout the planet, and how "regenerative agriculture" reverses environmental damage and provides sustainable long-term economic growth for those who choose to do so.

Violence

Archival WWII war footage.

Sex
Language

"Hell" used once. Mention of human feces being converted into fertilizer for crops and gardens in developing countries.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Brief shot of beer drinking a a large dinner party.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kiss the Ground is a 2020 documentary that addresses our current soil erosion crisis throughout the planet and the benefits of practicing "regenerative agriculture." Narrated by Woody Harrelson, the documentary features extensive interviews with farmers, scientists, activists, celebrities, and regular people as they help to create awareness of regenerative agricultural practices and encourage a "restoration economy" in order not only to address soil erosion, but also to create a long-term sustainable economy that provides work for many, while also beautifying their surroundings. The discussions of the evolution of farming methods, the raw statistics, and the science behind many of the concepts discussed make this best for tweens and older, especially kids interested in pursuing careers centered on protecting the environment. Mention of human feces being converted into fertilizer for crops and gardens in developing countries.

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What's the story?

In KISS THE GROUND, the worldwide soil erosion crisis is brought to the forefront. Factory farming, overfarming, and the overuse of pesticides have led to the result of 1/3rd of all top soil being lost since the 1970s, and, according to the United Nations, if current trends continue, the world's remaining topsoil will be gone within 60 years. Narrated by Woody Harrelson, this documentary looks at what a wide array of people are doing throughout the world to fix this problem. A conservation agronomist and a North Dakota farmer travel to the heartland of America to encourage farmers to implement regenerative agricultural practices. Activists encourage local farming in their communities. Celebrities like Jason Mraz promote field and garden diversity, and Patricia Arquette promotes practical solutions to fostering practices that foster a long-term restorative economy in the developing regions of the world. Through these interviews and discussion, Kiss the Ground shows that, while the problems faced by soil erosion are daunting, they are by no means impossible to solve.

Is it any good?

Kiss the Ground strikes a fine balance between hope and despair, with hope winning out. The dire facts of planetary soil erosion are laid bare, and the likely ramifications of what will happen if current trends continue is confronted head-on. It's a difficult, but not impossible fix, and through interviews and discussion with scientists, farmers, community activists, and celebrities, solutions great and small are presented. The documentary makes compelling arguments for implementing the practices of "regenerative agriculture" and how it leads to not only a healthier and more vibrant planet, but also provides ample economic benefit. 

A lot of (no pun intended) ground is covered in this documentary, giving the viewer plenty to think about, even if the documentary at times focuses on celebrities. While there's really no reason to have Jason Mraz singing an original number that extols the virtues of diversifying your garden, and the presence of Woody Harrelson often seems superfluous, Kiss the Ground also shows activists who aren't celebrities who are devoting their lives to solving these problems. It's a thoughtful documentary that clearly shows what good can be done, collectively and individually, if we have the will to make it happen.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the statistics in the movie. What did you learn? Does the movie effectively show what's happening now, what can be done about it, and what's likely to happen if we don't do anything about it?

  • Is there anything you think the documentary didn't address or anything you disagreed with? If so, what was it?

  • How concerned are those in your community about protecting the environment? Would those in your community be receptive to a documentary like this? Why or why not?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love the environment

Themes & Topics

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