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No Impact Man

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No Impact Man + No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process
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Product Details

  • Actors: Colin Beavan, Michelle Conlin
  • Directors: Laura Gabbert & Justin Schein
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Oscilloscope Laboratories
  • DVD Release Date: January 19, 2010
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002RX8G5E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,959 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "No Impact Man" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

'Like Gilligan's Island, only completely implausible.' That's how comedian Stephen Colbert summed up the family saga of Colin Beavan aka No Impact Man.Beavan, a New York City writer and self-proclaimed liberal, has big plans for his new book. He decides on a grand experiment to live one year with as little impact on the environment as possible. The problem is, the project requires his wife Michelle an espresso guzzling, Prada-worshipping business writer and their young daughter to be fully on board. As the family embarks on a year of no electricity, television, cars, toilet paper, elevators, or newspapers, Michelle must contend with caffeine withdrawal, compost worms, limited retail, and defending her own dreams, all in the name of supporting her husband's book project. What ensues is a not only a funny and entertaining look at well-intentioned environmentalism, but a touching, poignant take on the nature of contemporary marriage and what it means to pursue your dreams, even if it means driving those around you a little insane.

About the Actor

As the news stories go: "Colin Beavan is a liberal schlub who got tired of listening to himself complain about the world without ever actually doing anything about it" Thus, in November, 2006, Beavan launched a year-long project in which he, his wife, his two-year-old daughter and his four-year-old dog went off the grid and attempted to live in the middle of New York City with as little environmental impact as possible. The No Impact project has been the subject of stories in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and many other national and international news outlets. Beavan has appeared on The Colbert Report, Good Morning America, Nightline, The Montel Show, and all the major NPR shows. He speaks regularly to a wide variety of audiences, is frequently quoted in the press and consults to business on the intersection of sustainability and human quality of life.

Customer Reviews

There were other ways that he could have make no impact without impacting his family quality of life.
John Doe
As she would say, "Like, I totally, like, think that's totally, like, I'm not sure. I need a quadruple espresso."
K. Swanson
Families are hard work and they show a very nice side to the teamwork of problem solving during this project.
Erin E. Fletcher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By lenny williams on February 14, 2010
Format: DVD
great little documentary, if you can learn to tolerate beavan early on. it's been said before, he's a lame-o, but it bears repeating. it's unfortunate the filmmakers were saddled with such a huge obstacle (beavan) as this man totally impacts the film like "the annoying guy your best friend is dating". you just have to suffer thru him.

it pays off though! schein manages to salvage the film with interesting, intimate shots. you walk away realizing "nobody's perfect", that we are all struggling with ourselves, our ideals, our way of living.

the film gets blasted for not being THE eco-primer on sustainable living. well, it ain't. and the truth is, it's a better film for it.
you wanna learn how to recycle, be green? there's tons of info out there, find it.

seeing a man, his family struggle with their conscious, that's a way more interesting story.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Beth F. on December 2, 2009
Format: DVD
Very well done film and very eye-opening. I saw the premier in NYC and found it illuminating and inspiring even as someone who already lives "green." It showed not only what the family experienced in terms of reducing their impact but also how it affected their marriage and social life which was interesting and added depth to the story. My only negative was actually that it should have been called "No Impact Family" because his wife and daughter participated too and should be given credit as such.
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42 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Earl R. Brown on July 1, 2010
Format: DVD
Upon viewing this film, a few things struck me the wrong way about this man. In no particular order, he:

1)Doesn't seem have much respect for his wife.
2)Comes off as a self-indulgent attention whore, who then resents it when attention goes to something he did for no other reason but the attention- ie, not using toilet paper.
3)To segue off of that, he won't use toilet paper, yet his wife works for Business Week, and he takes on this endeavor in order to publish both a paperback and hardback book. Which, you guessed it, consumed significantly more trees than simply using toilet paper in the first place would have.

Also, I'm not quite sure what going vegetarian for a year has to do with eating locally or sustainably, seeing as how locally, humanely raised livestock that fit organic guidelines would've fit their diet just as much as his plan to eat only local, organically grown vegetables.

What saves it from being a one-star film is that, in his own misguided way, he did advocate some things that would legitimately help if people continued to do it, such as supporting your local farmers and producers, riding bikes if one's healthy enough to do so, and limiting our waste; unfortunately, the positives came with a good portion of BS that had to be endured to get there by a man more worried about how many people would think he was awesome than the cause itself, and it's also nothing groundbreaking.

And that little quip about farming not being hard? Charming. That's truly endearing to anyone who's actually done more than twist a garden weasel into the ground to plant parsley where someone else already did the work.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jamie on January 19, 2011
Format: DVD
This film was interesting and overall worth watching; but I was disappointed there wasn't any supporting information on their chosen methods or how-to. It was basically a reality show about a family simplifying their lifestyle, repetitive justification for doing so, and their increasing popularity along the ride.

I would have liked to see:
- Background on his project plan and how he drafted it
- How he researched and why he chose the methods he chose
- Real answers behind addressing toilet paper, dirty diapers, etc. and I'm not asking this out of perverse fascination. I'm asking it out of sincere interest on how to live without these things.

- I loved Mayer, the gardener's, humor and wisdom
- I enjoyed seeing their solution to laundry
- I liked the information around cleaning products but wanted more info on how to do this myself
- It was nice to see a child be part of this project. I have one and a little one on the way; so it's nice to know it's "doable" with babies

Lowest points:
- Didn't care about his numerous talks with national tv shows or his soapbox moments; the point seemed to be overblown
- Because there was so much lack of information and supporting facts he came off as extremely amateur and somewhat ignorant. I can see why some reviewers were annoyed
- His defensiveness around people wanting to know HOW he got by without toilet paper, etc.

My comments about other reviews:
- I feel the criticism behind the question," was he really low impact?" to be essentially irrelevant. That title, "Low impact man" is for publicity. This film is really about simplifying a lifestyle and doing what you can to reduce eco impact.
- Some people were confused by his choice to go vegetarian.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By cxlxmx on April 19, 2011
Format: DVD
No-Impact Man is supposed to be a documentary about 1 year in the life of a man named Beavan and his family during which they use only sustainable, non-polluting products. It was not supposed to be a movie about WHY you should be a no-impact environmentalist, nor a movie about HOW to go no-impact, so I wasn't disappointed that this DVD didn't show either of these things. Also, Beavan never said that his experiment was in living the only acceptable lifestyle, so I don't fault him for getting solar panels to power his laptop or selling his books. However, what I did expect was a movie about his experience of living without disposable things, and No-Impact Man didn't deliver. Instead it is a movie about Beavan and his wife, and some discombobulated moments in their lives.

Example one: The family tries to use a double-bucket system to cool food rather than having a fridge. But we get from the movie a scene where Beavan's wife is telling him that he doesn't support her because she is willing to use the buckets but he is not willing to have a second child with her. That's basically a movie about them as a couple, and we don't learn anything like... is the food going bad? Are the buckets hard to use? etc.

Example two: The family stops using toilet paper, using washable pieces of clothe instead. We get to hear from the wife stories about how some of her co-workers won't shake her hand anymore, etc. But what was the experience of using the clothe like? Did they feel clean? Was it gross to wash the clothes? No questions like that are ever answered.

I don't know who put this movie together, but they did a very poor job of making the No-Impact Man experiment either interesting or educational. Hopefully the book will be better.
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