Movie Review Friday: Humboldt County
Escape to the movies with one of our Movie Review Friday selections. Each week we review a film with an environmental theme that’s currently in theaters or available on DVD. Seen a good eco-flick lately? Send us a short review and look for it in the next Movie Review Friday.
Humbolt County (2008)
For a promising young medical student, failing the final exam is pretty crushing. It doesn't help when the unimpressed professor is your dad. Stung by the rejection from his clinically detached father and disillusioned by his mechanical life in Los Angeles, Peter Hadley makes an uncharacteristically rash decision to follow a strange woman to the lost coast of Humboldt County.
The mystifying Bogart (played by seasoned witchy actress Fairuza Balk) drives Peter up the coast to her Humbolt hometown, tucked into the redwoods of Northern California. The sweeping beauty of the untouched forests flush against the imposing cliffs of the Pacific, shocking Peter out of his L.A.-induced haze, though he quickly finds himself stumbling into a whole new sort.
Marijuana cultivation fuels the '60s-inspired family in which the flighty Bogart quickly abandons Peter. Unnerved but unable to secure a ride out of the woods, Peter apprehensively joins the collective and discovers the joys of living off the grid and within his own means, while also enjoying a toke or two.
But the weed angle is only a backdrop for what's really a film about embracing individualism and nature. The core values of sustainability and family stand out against the dreamy, dazzling pans across the redwoods. Though the protagonist follows a predictable path from uptight med student to peaced-out free spirit, and the tussle with the feds is fairly predictable, the pithy dialog and the coasts' tranquility ties the film into a gorgeous peek into natural living.