- Awards -What's This Octopus Movie Y'all Are Talking About?
"If a man can form a friendship with an octopus, what else is possible," My Octopus Teacher co-director James Reed said during his 2021 Oscars acceptance speech. Well, James, frankly, I do not know what else is possible, and I really don't care. Because, I'm sorry, did you say, "a man can form a friendship with an octopus?" Consider me intrigued. Guys, I'm about to find out what My Octopus Teacher is about, and I'd like you to come on this journey with me.
First, I'd like to take a stab at what I think My Octopus Teacher is about. I know nothing about this, other than it is a documentary and it was released on Netflix and my boss/The Dipp's President, Lindsay Mannering, says, "It's incredible. One of the best films about octopuses, hands down." (I think she means octopus arms down, but so be it.)
So here I go... writing what I believe is the synopsis of My Octopus Teacher. Enjoy.
A young boy, eight, goes to the aquarium with his class for a field trip. He becomes entranced by the octopus exhibit. While his class feeds the penguins and watches one of those weird seal shows, he sits on a bench and just stares as the octopuses (yes, I confirmed it is octopuses and not octopi) scoot on by.
Whilst there, he gets the devastating news that there's been an accident. It's his parents. They're gone. Totally donezo. We don't know what happened to them, but some are saying it's alien abduction, other say train crash, and one nosey neighbor starts a rumor that they disappeared from Thanos' snap. Crazy! Anyway, our main protagonist now has to raise himself, Matilda-style, while learning to read, write, and make the best fluffy pancakes he can.
Fast-forward 20 years. Oh, didn't anyone tell you? This is a Richard Linklater-kinda documentary, where it is shot over the course of an entire lifetime. Anyway, our young protagonist isn't so young anymore, thanks to time. He has nailed his pancake recipe, investigated the possible alien abduction that took his parents, joined the Avengers for one summer before deferring for school, and became a marine biologist. Now he works AND lives at the same aquarium he once went to as a young boy. But now he's a man. Just like James Reed said in his speech.
His social life is a disaster. He doesn't date. He doesn't even have a cell phone. GAH! Instead, he befriends one octopus that he *thinks* was there the day he learned about his parents' disappearance. He can't be sure — they all look the same... eight arms, the suction-cup thingys. He's the professional, he can tell you what they're called.
The final shot is of our protagonist entering the tank where the octopus lives. They hold hands/arms and swim away together, which is a metaphor for how we can float through life. And how anything is possible, per James.
So yeah. That's what I think happens in My Octopus Teacher. What do you think happens? Let us know in the comments before I look up what actually happens.
OK... did you do it? It's right there. That little green bubble.
Now is the time in the program where I go to the source — the place with all the answers — Wikipedia, to see what the documentary is actually about. Here we go:
So it looks like Craig Foster, a filmmaker and free-diver, befriends a "curious young octopus" while diving near Cape Town, South Africa. He hangs out with the octopus for a year to win her over (it's not easy to get an octopus to trust you, you guys), and the two eventually form a bond. Per Wikipedia, "They form a bond where she plays with Foster and allows him into her world to see how she sleeps, lives, and eats." Sounds moving! I don't do that for most humans I know.
Their relationship, like any, has highs and lows. The octopus loses an arm during an attack but also it... regenerates?! W H A T? Their story ends when the octopus dies, naturally, after laying eggs. In the most poetic and haunting line of the Wikipedia synopsis, "a shark takes her body away."
I mean, the film won an Oscar, so it clearly is worth a watch. But I'm just saying, there's no aliens? Hmm.
Have you seen My Octopus Teacher? Do you agree with Lindsay... is it the best octopus movie you've seen? Let us know in the comments.