In 2014, a treasure trove of footage of Jane Goodall on her first expeditions into the jungles of Africa to study the day to day existences of chimps in the wild was released from the National Geographic vaults and it is from this footage that Morgen has assembled this film. Jane consists almost entirely of period footage shot by Hugo von Lawick, a wildlife filmmaker & photographer who accompanied Goodall and played a large part in taking her story to the larger world. The two eventually married and the movie also follows along with their relationship. There’s a lot to love here for sure. Goodall comes across as a compelling figure; it’s kind of shocking to see her in the archival footage, a lanky, tan, blonde 26-year-old as she makes her first expedition into the jungle. It’s easy to see why she was so fascinating at the time and why she remains so. The nature footage is pretty great, especially when you consider its age; some of the most awe-inspiring footage is actually of the Serengeti during a lengthy period when Goodall & von Lawick worked there. And the score is by Phillip Glass is typically hypnotic and beautiful and striking. The film doesn’t ever quite achieve the transcendence I was kind of hoping for; it never becomes about anything larger than its subject in terms of themes and artistry, but then Jane Goodall is a large enough subject for this film to remain compelling and engaging. 3 ½ stars.
tl;dr – documentary about Jane Goodall is mostly composed of archival footage; Goodall is compelling, the footage is often awesome and the film is entertaining and engaging. 3 ½ stars.