Courtesy of NEON
In the new documentary ‘The Biggest Little Farm’ adversity and problem solving go a long way as the film chronicles the rise of Apricot Lane Farms, and feels like a cross between “Planet Earth” and “We Bought A Zoo.”
Packing as much of an environment and educational message in its brief, but impactful, 90 minutes as it can, director John Chester’s “The Biggest Little Farm” tracks the epic saga of one family and their seven year journey of launching Apricot Lane Farms. Started in large part because of the Chester’s adorable pup Todd inability to stop barking (which drives their neighbors nuts in the crammed suburbs of California) Chester and his wife seek out something much bigger and ambitious: to create farmland where every ingredient adheres to the same life cycle - plants and animals living in unison, feeding off each other in order to fuel the ecosystem.
They find their makeshift utopia, but it comes with some baggage and Chester manages to capture every significant moment of this journey starting from year one. Including their early arrival at the new home where the ground is cracked and the vibe registers more as a dessert than a place for crops and livestock to thrive, and they soon discover the soil is anything but fertile. Luckily they find help from veteran farmer Alan York, who guides them through the process and assures them of their path - but his untimely departure from the world leaves the Chesters with a project far more vast than they could’ve anticipated.
“Biggest Little Farm” is a rare eco-friendly documentary that doesn’t preach to its audience about the dangers of global warming, or how the Earth is in shambles. This is a documentary about problem solving, as the Chesters always have a solution and are the kind’ve good hearted people you’ll root for every day of the week. Despite Chester’s ability to beef up the dramatic beats in the narrative, often using cheesy music and voice overs that seem to undermine the driving force, but his ideas are poignant enough to let those moments pass.
Encapsulating gorgeous time lapses of plants and animals alike (including a sequence where the farm’s unofficial mascot - an adorable piggie named Emma - gives birth to 17 piglets in one litter!) “The Biggest Little Farm” allows the viewer to feel the full scale of the farmland and unlike another eco conscious documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” that’s tactics (though warranted) are used to scare you, “Biggest Little Farm” actually gives you hope for humanity and the American Dream.