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What to know: Stunningly beautiful portrail of Jacques Cousteau, explorer and protector of the undersea world.
Recommended age 10-18
93 minutes
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The documentary Becoming Cousteau reveals the life of Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his passion for all things under the sea. I loved learning more about this man, who was a dominate figure during my youth who brought fantastic underwater images into our living rooms.

This film shows Cousteau's love for the oceans, as it explores over four decades of his work and how he became a spokesperson for the environment more than 50 years ago.

I loved watching this film and learned more about Jacques Cousteau than I knew previously. It sort of filled in the blanks of the back story of the man who captured our hearts and imaginations years ago. The cinematography is breathtakingly beautiful, although I wondered why the archival shots at the beginning had not been digitally enhanced. I also found it interesting that even his first dives into the ocean, in 1937, were filmed. Of course, he says several times that he has always been a filmmaker, but still those shots surprised me. He also talks about how he was not a good husband or father and, indeed, six months after his wife died he remarried. Also, he sent his children off to boarding school so he and wife number one could spend their time on the boat pursuing various missions. He was a clever businessman too, which was necessary to keep the funding flowing and we learn how he too on an assignment from British Petroleum to research oil reserves under the ocean in order to finance other projects he and his crew pursued. I remember well his TV series, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, which aired from 1968n to 1976 and featured Cousteau along with his two sons and grandson. His wife, who did not appear on screen, was sort of the glue that held things together with the crew during these expositions on their boat, the Calypso. The Cousteau Society still exists and continues to carry out explorations worldwide and helps people understand the fragility of life on Earth - the Water Planet. This beautifully produced documentary directed by Liz Barbus (The Farm: Angola, USAP truly is an ode to a remarkable man who changed the course of history by embracing life beneath the sea.

The message of this film is a reminder to take care of our planet and treasure the undersea world.

I give Becoming Cousteau 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by R. Levy, KIDS FIRST!

Adventurer, filmmaker, inventor, author, unlikely celebrity and conservationist: For over four decades, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his explorations under the ocean became synonymous with a love of science and the natural world. As he learned to protect the environment, he brought the whole world with him, sounding alarms more than 50 years ago about the warming seas and our planet's vulnerability. In BECOMING COUSTEAU, from National Geographic Documentary Films, two-time Academy Award�-nominated filmmaker LIZ GARBUS takes an inside look at Cousteau and his life, his iconic films and inventions, and the experiences that made him the 20th century's most unique and renowned environmental voice -- and the man who inspired generations to protect the Earth.
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