Starring: John Chester, Molly Chester, Todd the Dog, Emma the Pig, Greasy the Chicken

Director: John Chester

Running Time: 91 Minutes

Rating: PG for Coyotes Attacking Livestock and Mud- and Manure-Based Messes

Release Date: May 10, 2019 (Limited)

In 2011, John and Molly Chester moved out of their cramped Los Angeles apartment to make a go of it on two hundred unkempt acres in Ventura County. They had a dream of doing things a little differently, an alternative, if you will, to the factory farms typical of modern American agriculture. Luckily for us, John is a documentary filmmaker, and he had the cameras rolling for much of the journey.

The Biggest Little Farm is the document of their ultimate triumph over great odds. Whenever a new problem arises and seems intractable (not enough rain, too much rain, relentless predators, thoughtless pests), the Chesters somehow manage to consistently turn crises into opportunities. It almost feels a little too perfect. To be fair, we do see the struggle, but I would have liked to have seen even more of it. We could have gotten really deep in the process of the problem-solving. Oh well, maybe that’s what the special features are for. It would have been tough to fit all that in a ninety-minute package. As it is, though, what we have is a valuable record of the passage of time and its truly transformative possibilities. John has a preternaturally keen eye for capturing the wondrous chronological workings of nature, and the result is inspiring cinema that shows that maybe, just maybe, uprooting everything can work out just like we need it to.

The Biggest Little Farm is Recommended If You Like: Lifestyle transformations, Videos of animals giving birth

Grade: 3.5 out of 5 Promises