Documentary Review: The Relationship Between Two Species

Emma Davis Foley, Reporter, Editor

I have always been interested in the ocean; a whole other world that we know so little about. I watch countless documentaries and movies that explore the deep blue, so it wasn’t a question that this new Netflix original documentary was needed to be the next movie checked off my list. If that wasn’t enough, both my parents have asked me to watch this documentary on multiple occasions, saying that they would watch it again with me; and neither one of them are known for rewatching anything, especially a documentary. This when I knew this movie was one for the books. So, here we go: My Octopus Teacher, a journey between a man and an octopus in the Great African Sea Forest. 

The preview of this amazing documentary, without spoiling too much, is about Craig Foster and his relationship with an octopus. Foster has always had a love of the ocean since he was a child, and after loosing his path as an adult, he retreats back to the waters to find some peace. After some exploring through a kelp forest, he stumbles across this beautiful common octopus. Amazed by her beauty, he begins watching over the creature. Taking  notice of  how intriguing this little octopus is, Foster decides to make it his mission to bond with the creature. Everyday for a year Foster dove into the blue to uncover new quirks and characteristics of the octopus, building a relationship with her. The fact that an octopus’ lifespan is so short, anywhere from five months to five years, and that Foster was a part of this little creature’s life for an entire year pushes how important their relationship is. This man is a big part in the octopus’ life, most of her realizations about the world and how to survive is surrounding her experience with Foster. The link between the two is so magical, it’s a trial and error experiment for both of them getting to know and explore one another.  

My Octopus Teacher is a fantastic documentary. From the camerawork, to the storyline, and falling in love with this little octopus; this documentary isn’t only for the science buffs. The angles and clarity of the cinematography makes you feel like you are alongside the octopus, it is so clear and vibrant. That alone is captivating. Following the journey between the two drastly different species, an octopus and a human, is a whole other aspect. The connection growing between Foster and the octopus is so unlikely, as the octopus watches him just as much as he continues watching her. They are learning about each other in the most magnificent way possible. 

If Foster just swam past this little octopus, diverted his eyes over his right shoulder instead of his left, his life would have taken another path. I would recommend this documentary to anyone who wants to expand their reality and perceptions on sea life. 10/10