Reviewed by Ian Mowll.
I remember watching the TV series by Jacques Cousteau in the 1970s – his exploratory adventures under the sea and filming amazing life in the oceans. His passion for exploration and his wonder of life came through and I was mesmerised.
This film is about the life of this incredible man, his personal journey and how it profoundly changed him. Early in his life, he had a bad car accident which propelled him towards swimming and diving to help relieve pressure on some of his bones. And this led to a life long passion for the sea and all of its ecosystems.
He was obviously very talented, for instance, he helped to create modern diving apparatus and to progress underwater photography. On his ship, he gathered around him a group of people who were also explorers – often people who did not feel they fitted in with mainstream society.
He keenly understood the science of climate change and the need to protect the ecosystems of our planet. For instance, he spoke to many world leaders about the need to preserve the Antarctic and not to exploit it. He helped to get an international agreement to leave the Antarctic alone until at least 2048.
The film also describes Cousteau’s private life – his marriage and two children. His wife was very involved in running Cousteau’s ship the Calypso; such was his dedication to his adventures that he admitted that he did not spend as much time as he should have with his family. Sadly, one of his sons died in an accident late in Cousteau’s life which affected him deeply.
I found the film very moving – that his dedication, skill and passion lit up such interest in so many people around the world to preserve our beautiful planet. Thank you Jacques Cousteau for all you brought to the world, your legacy lives on.