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No Impact Man (2008)

Colin Beavan , Michelle Conlin , Laura Gabbert & Justin Schein  |  NR |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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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 (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002RX8G5E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,831 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "No Impact Man" on IMDb

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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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nobody's perfect--but the February 14, 2010
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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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film December 2, 2009
By Beth F.
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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40 of 52 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hypocrisy Now July 1, 2010
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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very poor documentary April 19, 2011
By cxlxmx
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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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't Finish It May 23, 2010
By heysuze
I watched only a portion of the dvd and confess that despite bringing little expectation, it nevertheless was a slow uncomfortable, albeit sad, erosion for me. I stepped off where the wife gets pregnant. There was far too much marital reality show, just as Colin feared. But what was more frustrating: far too little explanation on how they reach all the terribly strange arbitrary decisions (no to a fridge but yes to ice???) they made to reach what they considered the "no impact zone". In short, too much daydreaming and reacting, not enough solid homework and thinking it through.

From the beginning, the project comes off as ill conceived, grossly lacking in research on the general topic and disorganized as to how to solve even simple situations like hygiene. Case in point -- Colin's pot-in-pot cooler was a failure for Colin's assumption that the very arid climate where they are successfully used wasn't a factor. Not enough thinking. Another even more egregious case in point -- there is no greater impact on Earth to be found than in its overpopulation yet there appears zero consciousness about that displayed in the discussions by either husband or wife prior to their second conception. How does one overlook that?

At some point, it became too difficult to watch the kind of ignorance that doesn't know it is. It brings to mind how one must first understand the entirety of the problem to make successful course changes. Flying by one's pants seat can be humorous but this was merely a sad self indulgent cousin to "Into The Wild", which drew a hugely sympathetic reaction from me. It was just as admirable of a goal but with quite the opposite of an admirable application. Fortunately for the Beavans, nothing as essential as survival was ever at stake so all their angst, in contrast to McCandless's dangerous heroics mixed with understandable naivete, comes off as average every day dumbo. If you last the whole dvd, I say bully for you. I couldn't.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I loved this moview
Published 3 months ago by Pen Name
3.0 out of 5 stars MINIMUM IMPACT MAN
If ever there was a movie that wouldn't effect my life, but should, it is this one. The idea of "No Impact" is inane. Read more
Published 20 months ago by The Movie Guy
3.0 out of 5 stars Good
This was good. However, I wish an educational version was available for school students (middle and high school students). Read more
Published 21 months ago by Janel K. Digby
5.0 out of 5 stars Great documentary on how to live simply
I got this documentary after hearing about it on Alicia Silverstein's website, the Kind Life. She had a preview video there. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Girlgatsby
3.0 out of 5 stars Educator's Review
The project and content material were very good. I was extremely disappointed in the laguage in the film. I can only show my students small clips and not the entire film. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Doreen petri
3.0 out of 5 stars Only impact on me was depression
I don't think they could have found two less charismatic people to follow around for a year. This movie depressed me about recycling, I was hoping to learn new ways to lessen my... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Laura
1.0 out of 5 stars Worthless...
I watch documentaries to learn something. I am a surfer who cares about what goes in the oceans. I do not eat out and recycle even my own vegetables. Read more
Published 23 months ago by NYFB
5.0 out of 5 stars A great companion to the documentary
This book is a great companion to the wonderful documentary of the same title. I highly recommend both!

It shows that profound change is not linear and neat. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Marsha Hanzi
1.0 out of 5 stars Not empressed
No Impact Man was not as good as I thought it was going to be. Don't buy it rent it first and then if you like it buy it. I'm glad I did not pay full price for it.
Published on October 19, 2012 by R. T.
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Experiment, But How Relevant?
Colin Bevin decided to live for one year making no impact on the environment. His wife agreed, and his daughter was a toddler who seemed to have fun with the whole experiment. Read more
Published on May 12, 2012 by Barbara Frederick
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