Confront the weight of the world for Earth Day with The Magnitude of All Things. The documentary directed by Jennifer Abbott (The New Corporation) is now streaming for free from the National Film Board of Canada. The Magnitude of All Things is an intimately personal film that explores climate change from an unexpected angle: grief.
Abbott draws upon the death of her sister Saille to recognize that the sorrow she feels reflects the sense of loss that she and others experience when facing the imminent threat to our planet. Using her story as the point of inquiry, Abbott travels the world to observe lives that are altered by climate change. The lens of climate grief accentuates the personal stakes in each story. From young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who fights for her future every Friday and rallies a new generation of activists, to Mukutsawa Montahuano of the Sápara Nation in the Amazon rainforests of Ecuador, The Magnitude of All Things flips the script on environmental docs, which too often look to anger as the emotion to motivate us. Instead, the film poetically considers the pain of loss and asks audiences to consider applying the sorrow they feel to the six billion other inhabitants of the planet. Confronting a sense of loss means recognizing something worth fighting for.
“Exploring climate change through the perspective of environmental grief, The Magnitude of All Things witnesses far corners of the world coping and adapting in the face of devastating losses—but also many people fighting for the world’s future,” I wrote while reviewing the film at Planet in Focus, where it won the prize for Best Canadian Feature. “The doc navigates the space between anger and hope to emerge with a deeper sense of serenity. It’s as poignant as it is provocative.”
Watch The Magnitude of All Things below from the NFB.
Presented in partnership with the NFB.