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No Impact Man

51 customer reviews

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(Jan 19, 2010)
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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.

Special Features


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 (51 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002RX8G5E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,970 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "No Impact Man" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 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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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.
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42 of 57 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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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A. A. Senerchia on June 17, 2011
Format: DVD
I don't often write reviews, but this guy irked me so, that I felt I had to give my two cents.

First, he's extremely annoying to listen to and watch. This, however, does not affect my rating of the movie, because it's a docu and he is the guy who did the crazy project.

As many have written, it should really be titled something other than No Impact Man (especially the book, and it's over-emphasis on the "Man"), because he dragged his family into it with him. If anything, at the end of the film, his wife looks much better than at the start and, if I may, becomes rather like-able; he, however, has thoroughly declined, plagued by bags under the eyes and seemingly depressed. Perhaps it was the stress he put himself through, trying as hard as he might to figure out every possible spin he could put on his story? In any case, I'm sure that most of the rave reviews are from people who associate with the wife, who is definitely the more human of the two or perhaps the child. Beavan, on the other hand, is thoroughly embroiled in a plot to get as much attention as he possibly can through a media-grabbing stunt. Why no toilet paper? 'Cause that'll make people talk! There are some who are convinced that this isn't a stunt. Their conviction is probably based on the whining episodes in the film, in which he exposes how much it hurts him that anyone would think that would do this just for a story. If you were planning to turn off your electricity, and you wanted a way to refrigerate things, wouldn't you try an evaporative-cooling setup before you put all your trust in it? Wouldn't you find out if there is a specific type of pot that works the best?
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