Jane

I got to my showing of Wonder really early, and had a bite to eat at the Angelika Film Center and then caught the documentary Jane, which I had no intention of seeing. I think it has left the Angelika already, but is playing a few other places in town. I’m glad I saw it.

Perhaps I wasn’t so interested in seeing this because I had seen and read so many things about Jane Goodall before. For those that don’t know, she spent decades observing chimpanzees in Tanzania, and wrote extensively about them. She’s also done so much for wildlife preservation.

Brett Morgen’s documentary provides an interesting autobiographical character study, as well as incredible footage. A lot of the shots of Goodall are courtesy of Hugo van Lawick, a National Geographic photographer/cameraman who would become known as one of the best in the business. He’d also marry Jane in 1964.

The movie shows some wonderfully touching moments with the animals, as well as some scary ones. There are some very moving moments that deal with her marriage, too. Somebody though, needs to explain to me why she calls her son Hugo “Grub.”

This is an engrossing documentary, about a person we all know, and get to learn a little more about. Seeing this the same week I saw another documentary about an interesting person (Dealt)…was a pleasant surprise, since I thought this year was lacking in good documentaries.

It also has some new interviews with Goodall, who is now in her 80s.

The story is helped along with some fine editing, and a terrific score by Philip Glass.

This gets 3 ½ stars out of 5.