What is special about Thunberg is her determination and willingness to make her voice heard and educate others, not that she understands the climate crisis and the top climate scientists. This was the most effective aspect of this documentary. I Am Greta contextualizes and humanizes this person that, for many who both love and hate her, has become larger than life.
Thunberg has Asperger’s, a neurodevelopmental disorder that is part of the autism spectrum. While this does not affect her intellectual ability, as some critics have claimed, it does make her social interactions more difficult. Her speeches and conversations with world leaders are more impactful because Thunberg lacks a traditional sense of ‘self,’ and therefore has less of a filter. However, she believes that having Asperger’s has helped in her activist work, saying towards the end of the movie, “Sometimes I think it would be good if everyone had a bit more Asperger’s.”
“…a humanistic examination of this young activist.”
The most powerful aspect of this documentary is that it shows how her actions while educating and empowering many have had no tangible effect on changing course on the climate issue. Thunberg saw firsthand how these politicians listened, smiled, and nodded but then turned around and endlessly debated over trivial matters. At the same time, they continued to commit further to the dwindling oil supply and other policies contributing to the climate crisis and the current mass extinction event. I Am Greta explores Thunberg’s perspective on this, showing her frustration and growing pessimism and skepticism towards these politicians as she meets more and more of them. She begins to feel like a prop for them to flaunt around, not someone who is taken seriously or genuinely listened to.
Thunberg is still on the ground regularly protesting, even after all the cameras have left; she has shown herself to be someone who truly believes in their cause and is dedicated to fighting for change. Unfortunately, the people that can cause that change don’t seem to be on her side. By showing us Thunberg’s rapid rise to fame and how little that fame has led to comprehensive action, I Am Greta has put a spotlight on our world leaders’ apathy toward the climate crisis. It has also presented a humanistic examination of this young activist.
"…contextualizes and humanizes this person that, for many who both love and hate her, has become larger than life."