Craig Foster doesn’t list the troubles that drove him from his beloved filmmaking to recharge on the South African coast of his childhood, but he describes himself as unfit to be near his son during this period. In this unbalanced state, he starts diving alone in the chilly waters of the kelp forest to relax and escape and soon spots the title’s My Octopus Teacher. The eight-armed, liquid creature is a plucky and resourceful predator, a master of disguise, and supremely self reliant. In his daily dives, Foster’s patience and doggedness with the octopus is rewarded. She seems to accept him as a benign sea farer and crawls up his hand cautiously. Eventually she sits on his chests and lets him pet her. Over the course of a year of daily diving, though he feels protective, he refrains from interfering in her and the other animals’ lives. This is especially difficult when the octopus is dramatically chased by a shark. She survives but loses an arm in the process. Weak and pale after, she eventually recovers fully, sporting a new appendage. Foster reports that as he obsesses over the octopus and her dramas, he feels himself caring more, not just for his new friend but for his son, who joins him on some dives, and for other people as well. The movie’s epigraph notes that the experience of sharing his life with the octopus inspired him to start a group of divers dedicated to preserving the kelp forest.
Parents need to know that My Octopus Teacher is a nature documentary about a man looking to regain his passion for life. Retreating from life’s problems, filmmaker Craig Foster tries to recharge by returning to the stormy South African shore of his youth, where he dives into the local kelp forest and meets a resourceful and friendly octopus. He spends nearly a year visiting her daily, and the relationship affects him deeply. For kids who love animals, the depiction of a relationship between a human.
Q-tips say: We did enjoy this movie. A nice change from what is going on in the world right now.
Mrs. Q says: Families can talk about the relationship between humans and animals. Does it surprise you that an octopus seems to take an interest in befriending a human? How could you learn more about your favorite animals? I am sure the “little ones” will have questions, but will enjoy the movie & the story of the Octopus.