Jeff Bridges’ takes us on a journey through climate change, consumerism, and what it means to be human on this technologically changing Earth.
Synopsis: In this beautifully photographed tour de force of original thinking, Academy Award winner, Jeff Bridges shares the screen with scientists, profound thinkers and a dazzling array of Earth’s living creatures to reveal eye-opening concepts about ourselves and our past, providing fresh insights into our subconscious motivations and their unintended consequences. Living in the Future’s Past shows how no one can predict how major changes might emerge from the spontaneous actions of the many. How energy takes many forms as it moves through and animates everything. How, as we come to understand our true connection to all there is, we will need to redefine our expectations, not as what we will lose, but what we might gain by preparing for something different. (Vision Films)
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Leonard Mlodinow, and Piers Sellers
Director: Susan Kucera
Running Time: 84mins
Living in the Future’s Past feels like a slog to get through in its short 90 minute runtime. It poses questions about humanity’s role on this planet, employing doctors and researchers from all different academic backgrounds (anthropological, psychological, biological, and philosophical to name a few) to give the documentary a balanced approach. It seems to start off as a climate change documentary, focusing on how we are burning up our fossil fuels at an alarming rate and how we are the only ones who can save our planet. It then transitions and looks at life through a consumerist perspective, dissecting how we spend and expend our energy consumption. Living in excess – not due to wealth but due to resources – poses a problem for our planet. The majority of our resources are finite, and Bridges along with director Susan Kucera demonstrate how we spend our money and use our resources, and how our choices will impact our future.
The film is beautifully photographed, with constant landscape shots interspersing with cityscapes and aerial nature shots used to give the film a dynamic, natural look. Bridges’ rusty southern accent juxtaposes the beautiful photography as he leads us on a journey through our present times that feels like it would be a good doc to watch while killing time in a high school social studies class. The content itself is important, but it’s been done many times before in a more comprehensive matter that renders the viewer with not much contemplation after watching the film. “Capitalism is neither good, nor bad,” Bridges says as we cut to more beautiful nature shots. The film seems to address our current issues through a kaleidoscope of viewpoints that have been analyzed before, rather than supplying us with new information that we can take away and use. A good documentary leaves you with new thoughts and new ideas about certain aspects contained within our planet and society. Living in the Future’s Past feels like a solid doc that you can put on while doing anything else.
Overall, Living in the Future’s Past presents hugely important ideas, but tells it in a way that is neither refreshing nor is particularly impactful for the viewer.