This is a wonderful documentary directed by Brett Morgan. It was crafted from over 100 hours of incredible color footage that was assumed to be lost until recently. The film covers Jane Goodall’s personal life, such as her falling in love and marrying wildlife photographer Baron Hugo van Lawick, and her relationship with her mother and son, Grub. This film’s main “focus” is on her many years spent in Gombe, Africa, studying chimpanzees. We see the chimps in their natural habitat and get to know them “up close and personal.” We learn about how Jane’s study of chimps influenced her in profound ways – for example, observing the way a chimp “Flo” mothered her son “Flint” was a major influence in how she mothered her son, Grub.
Goodall made many noteworthy discoveries, such as proving that chimpanzees made and used tools – that humans weren’t the only species to do this. (This discovery caused considerable controversy, especially for religions.) At first, Jane naively thought that chimps were like us but a lot nicer, only to learn later that they could be just as brutal as humans can. As a bonus, there is also some spectacular footage of lions, zebras, giraffes, and other animals taken by Hugo on the Serengeti Plane in Tanzania. The score by Phillip Glass is also terrific.
I didn’t just like this movie, I “went ape” for it!