7/10 Part of watching documentaries about subject matter you may not always have a passion for is broadening your horizons and learning about issues you may be unfamiliar with. When it comes to Jacques Cousteau, the most I knew about him was that he was French (duh) and that Bill Murray’s character in Wes Anderson’s “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” was inspired by him. So you could say I knew nothing about the man. I’m not obsessed with ocean life (a byproduct of being from Arizona) like a James Cameron, so I have never had an interest in learning about this man. However, after having watched this film I can say that I’m happy that I did. While it isn’t as strong as some of the recent documentaries, “Becoming Cousteau” is an entertaining and educational look into the multi-faceted man that he was. I knew he spent his life on the ocean exploring beneath the surface but had no idea that he was an inventor, film maker, environmentalist, etc. He was a great example of someone who learned and matured throughout his time on this earth. In his early days, he was killing sharks and a lot of the wild life in the ocean. Yet as he grew up and saw what humans were doing to the underwater environments, he learned the error of his ways and swore to protect ocean life in all its forms. Humans have been polluting the oceans for over a century and his activism became extremely important later in his life, particularly in regards to Antarctica. Antarctica is protected through 2048, in large part thanks to people like Cousteau. When it comes to this documentary, director Liz Garbus brilliantly combines stock footage, much of which Cousteau and his crew shot themselves, as well as beautiful underwater shots of oceanic life. The interview portions never overstay their welcome and stay relevant to what is going on in the film. The score beautifully gives off a magical, oceanic feel that transports you to another world. While the film is well made, there are a couple of mild problems. If you aren’t huge into the subject matter, you may not have your interest held by this film. I love learning about new subjects so I was pleasantly surprised but I believe most viewers will either love or hate this film, depending upon their interest in the subject matter. Through no fault of the film itself, since this has been released so close to “The Rescue”, “The Lost Leonardo”, “Show Me the Father”, etc., I feel that this isn’t as strong as those other films so this may get lost in the crowded documentary shuffle. “The Rescue”, despite its story concluding, still keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat the entire time. “Show Me the Father” was an extremely emotionally moving experience. “Becoming Cousteau” doesn’t quite have the emotional pull or the edge of your seat suspense that those films had. So while I recommend this to people inspired by ocean life or who have a heart for environmental issues, this is definitely aimed at a specific audience that will have trouble finding crossover with other demographics. I’m glad I learned about the story of a fascinating individual and if you are interested in any aspects of his life, I definitely recommend checking this out.

#TheWifeAquatic / #BeaniesAndBikinis / #AquaLungAtHeart / #SlowOceanReplay / #TheFrenchInvention / #TheOdySea

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