Parents' Guide to

My Octopus Teacher

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Octopus befriends troubled diver and teaches him about life.

Movie NR 2020 85 minutes
My Octopus Teacher Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 7+

Based on 31 parent reviews

age 8+

"The Hell" is said a few times. Referring to the hell she going to do, and hell she is going through. Be ready for grief. But, death is part of life for us. So, we saw it as a nature movie.

age 12+

Maudlin, Unrealistic Storyline

and Un-necessarily Negative Ending. The story-line of the man was a very unrealistic stretch. This was the primary failing of the movie. The movie would have been far better if it were purely documentary - instead of, in fact, being woven around a fictional human storyline. Also, the ending was depressing and sickening: the dead corpse of the octopus, which the movie-watchers learned to love, was filmed being ripped up and eaten by sharks. Un-necessarily sickening and disgusting.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (31 ):
Kids say (12 ):

My Octopus Teacher is an enthralling and moving record of a man in pain and retreat who seemingly finds his humanity by spending time with a charming and intelligent invertebrate. In the chilly South African Atlantic Ocean, weaving himself through kelp with only a mask, flippers, snorkel, and camera, he reports that he starts to care about others. The photography is spectacular, and the images he and directors Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed capture are extraordinary and revealing of a world most of us know nothing about.

The life cycle of his octopus friend takes us on a roller coaster of emotions: her moment of triumph as a mother provides the movie's melancholy end. This deeply felt conclusion underscores the movie's one missing element. Foster has no hesitation to expose the private life of his invertebrate friend, but he never explains the nature of the personal troubles that made him seemingly abandon friends and family and renounce life among humans for immersion in nature. If he really became a psychically healthier man because of his relationship with the octopus, it would have been great to know what about his previous life drove him to try to be a better man. Kevin Smuts' score is a perfect auditory match for the stunning visual beauty of the deep.

Movie Details

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