Love makes you do drastic things. John and Molly Chester embark on an exciting endeavor and “The Biggest Little Farm” captures their sweet story.
Emmy award winning filmmaker John Chester and his charming chef wife Molly manage their lives in a tiny Santa Monica apartment when a delightful dog, Todd, enters their lives. Facing an eviction notice due to Todd’s barking, these two dynamic dreamers decide to take a leap of faith and become farmers. However, they just don’t want to farm, but create a complex, coexistent farm where they live and work harmonious with nature naturally.
Moving to Moorpark, about 40 miles north of Los Angeles, the Chesters attempt the impossible by purchasing 200 acres to plant 10,000 orchard trees and over 200 different crops while raising a wide variety of animals. The Chesters’ cheerfully jump at the opportunity, but is their wishful thinking all for naught?
During the course of 90 minutes, this thorough and fantastic film pulls at your heart’s strings. “The Biggest Little Farm” (https://www.thebiggestlittlefarmmovie.com) forgoes the boring nature route most movies with similar subject matters go and creates a compelling, charming story about dreaming. Filmmaker turned farmer John Chester captures the simplicity we would want in filmmaking and allows audiences to experience each tender moment naturally.
Unlike preachy documentaries with an agenda attacking a subject matter, the naïve nature and rigorous honesty depicted has you rooting from the beginning. Each sequence showcases the Chester’s passionate plea for natural sustainable farming and allows audiences to appreciate how healthy nature can certainly exist harmoniously with wildlife and minimal human interference despite deterrents impacting their daily lives.
By building an ambitious and eclectic ecosystem, the daunting task of being a novice farmer would wreck most individuals. However, their dedication, drive and determination with tackling things one goal at a time leads the Chesters to discover dreams are possible. Imagine if “Planet Earth” meets “We Bought A Zoo” with a mix of “Charlotte’s Web” and “Babe,” but without the talking animals. This heartfelt, heroic journey from filmmakers to farmers is inspirational and creates a beautiful, breathtaking documentary.
The idealistic Molly and John Chester receive immense inspirational info from consultant Alan York, who made their dream a reality. Their life lessons struggling with a natural, coexistent lifestyle is truly mesmerizing. “The Biggest Little Farm” maintains a vibrant visual appeal utilizing time lapse, drone footage and handheld cameras creating an educational and environmental friendly viewing experience everyone will enjoy.
Unlike most nature documentaries, which wander around from species to species with a regal voiced narrator describing actions, “Biggest Little Farm” features a wide array of creative commentary with everyday farm life. The relatable reactions with certain characters (including animals) come across genuine and feel more like a movie instead of a run of the mill documentary. Faced with the brutal California drought, the Chesters courageously carry on and focus on developing their traditional farm with attracting animals and respecting nature. Each season is like dealing with a different dance partner and each one interacts with a different rhythm. Some simply know the beat, but not every partner reacts right creating havoc on the dance floor.
Throughout the movie I genuinely had goose bumps and cried on three different occasions. The Chesters’ chronicle of pursuing their dream vision with Apricot Lane Farms (https://www.apricotlanefarms.com) persists as an amazing testament to will and strength. Maintaining a balanced ecosystem, rich soils and nutrient rich produce finally attracts nature to come back to once a desolate dilapidated farmland.
As prolific poet Maya Angelou once said, “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” For anyone wanting an exciting, endearing and enjoyable film-not just documentary- “The Biggest Little Farm” is the biggest little surprise of the year! One of the year’s best bold movies and a must see.
4 out of 4 stars.
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