Movie Review: The Island President

April 17, 2013  By: Gretchen

The Island President starts by telling the under-reported story a brutal 30-year dictatorship in the island nation of the Maldives. Mohamed “Anni” Nasheed was a catalyst for change in the 2000-island nation, subjecting himself to repeated arrests and torture in order to bring democracy to his country. All of his hard work and subsequent punishments were proven worthwhile when he was elected president in 2008, however his challenges were only beginning.

President Nasheed’s first order of business upon taking the reins of leadership was to address the most pressing problem in the Maldives – the very survival of its people with the imminent rising sea waters resulting from global climate change. He rolled up his sleeves with the locals to look at the problems and try and address them (including pledging to be the first nation on earth to become carbon neutral), while also laying groundwork with world leaders and the global press in advance of the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Summit.

The Island President is a fascinating look at what climate change looks like for people facing an urgent situation, versus the sometimes subtle environmental changes that are reported which can go almost unnoticed. It is also an unusually candid portrait of political strategy (and posturing) on a global stage.

We won’t spoil the movie by revealing anything else about its plot, but we do recommend watching it. It’s engaging and educational, and on top of that, the viewer gets a look at the beauty and culture of the Maldives. The country is a paradise of breathtakingly beautiful turquoise reefs, beaches, and palm trees. Its coral islands are arrayed across 400 miles of open sea like necklace-shaped constellations; the aerial shots in the movie give a sense of how geographically dispersed the islands are (and how stunning). You’ll want to visit…and to help save it.