Climate change is slowly destroying the natural home of the Inuit tribe living in the Arctic. The elders of this habitat need the world to know what is happening, and that task has been given to Theo (Theo Ikummaq), an Inuit man, in Ezna Sands’ feature film, Chloe and Theo.
Chloe and Theo is part drama and part documentary. It opens in the Arctic, as Theo recounts the Legend of the Angry Sun. The icecaps are melting, which will not only affect the Inuits but the rest of the world as well. Soon, the elders gather and send Theo on a mission to speak to the “elders” of the South with a message that there’s still time to turn things around.
Several days later, Theo arrives in New York City. Through documentary-like narration, he reflects on life in the big city. In the Arctic, there is quiet and peace. However, the steady stream of noise in the city keeps Theo on edge and causes a constant feeling of suffocation living in the seemingly cramped city. As he stares high above the tall buildings, he is mistaken as a tourist by a street gang. They rob Theo, though he is rescued by a homeless girl, Chloe (Dakota Johnson). Even though Theo is annoyed that Chloe keeps calling him an Eskimo, the two quickly become friends. When asked why he’s in New York, Theo insists that Chloe take him to her elders so that he can deliver his message.
As the story continues, Theo compares his simple life in the Artic and comments on the noise of city living, how we waste our resources, and the inequities between rich and poor. But, as word gets out that Theo needs to speak to the President, it gets the attention of… the Feds. As Theo becomes entangled in the justice system, he meets Monica (Mira Sorvino), the only person with any influence to believe in Theo and his message. But can Monica help Theo fulfill his purpose and meet the President?
“…Theo compares his simple life in the Artic and comments on the noise of city living, how we waste our resources…”
Chloe and Theo is an environmental tale for the family to enjoy. Yes, its message is about climate change. Though its message is dire, the story refuses to hammer you over the head. Theo’s tale harkens back to a time when man lived in harmony with nature, and all resources were valuable.
There’s also an indie charm to the whole affair. What happens behind the scenes of a film really shouldn’t influence our feelings about what’s on the screen, but it does here. Lead actor Theo Ikummaq is not a classically trained actor but a philosopher of sorts with a great deal of wisdom about our place on the planet. Rather than make a traditional documentary of his life, a fictional story was created by writer/director Ezna Sands and producer Monica Ord (whom Sorvino portrays).
Even more impressive is that this indie film boasts Richard Branson as one of its producers and James Cameron coming in with a vital assist in editing and post-production. Both men wisely keep the production’s independent spirit in place and never let the story become over-produced. As this was produced several years ago, it is also Dakota Johnson’s first lead role, and though a little rough around the edges, she gives a solid performance against rookie Ikummaq.
Chloe and Theo is a lite drama about a serious (and polarizing) subject. It’s a sweet and charming tale that is a “spoonful of sugar” on climate change and about the little things we can do to make the world a better place.
Chloe and Theo is available on all VOD platforms and streaming on Amazon Prime.
"…a sweet and charming tale that is a 'spoonful of sugar' on climate change..."