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Jane
Jane movie poster

Jane Movie Review

Jane Goodall is a badass. Always was, always will be. The new documentary by Brett Morgen, brilliantly and metaphorically titled Jane, takes a look at her life, with emphasis on her chimpanzee research.

Based on a trove of “never before seen” footage that is pretty extraordinary in its depth and significance, Jane quickly lands the tall, long-legged blonde (is it OK to admit that I have a crush on the woman my mom studied in university?) in the African jungle and proceeds to depict what she discovered, how she became the revered expert she is today and how her observations of her famed chimpanzee family affected the way she raised her own child.

Though decades old, the vivid scenery and animal shots are impressive. Paired with a strong score and spliced with more recent interviews of Goodall, Jane is a riveting, well made look at the woman and her chimps. Though there are certainly depressing segments of the film – as you may or may not know, the chimps eventually turn on each other to devastating effect – the movie boasts plenty of baby chimpanzee shots and other cute moments.

Jane is considered a contender for an Oscar, and it deserves consideration. On the flip side, while it’s well done and depicts an important person, the documentary is a pretty straightforward profile—this documentary isn’t out to change the world. You can’t really criticize Morgen for such limitations, but if you only watch a couple documentaries a year, there are more important ones out there.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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