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The Independent Critic

Jeb Berrier, Jared Blumenfeld, Martin Bourque
Suzan Beraza
Michelle Curry Wright
est. 85 Mins.
APT Worldwide/New Day Films (DVD)

 "Bag It" Review 
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I've tried. I really have.

Okay, I thought I'd tried. Truthfully, I haven't actually put a real effort into ending my dependence on plastic.

I look at the cashier. I look at my wheelchair. I look at all the items I'm trying to carry out of the store of the moment and, almost without fail, when the question comes "Paper or plastic?" I find myself conveniently going for plastic because I know that it's going to fit over the handles of my wheelchair.

Paper? It NEVER fits.

A fabric bag? That would require actual pre-planning and a level of consciousness for which I'm not exactly known.

Until now.

I'm sitting here only a few moments after watching the thought-provoking, funny and genuinely moving documentary Bag It and I'm thinking to myself "I have to do better."

It really matters.

Seen as part of a series of hosted virtual screenings on Constellation TV, Bag It will also screen on Sunday December 11th @ 8:30 pm and Sunday December 18th @ 8:30 pm with Q&A's afterwards. Written by Michelle Curry Wright and directed by Suzan Beraza, Bag It takes a touch of Michael Moore, a dash of Morgan Spurlock and a substantial dose of Jeb Berrier, the film's absolutely delightful host, and weaves it all together into a film that gets to the heart and soul of exactly why we Americans need to put an end to our dependence on plastic, a seemingly trivial concoction that is anything but trivial.

Bag It takes a comprehensive approach to looking at the issue of plastics utilization, an approach that includes the political realm, human health, waste/recycling, ocean health and single use disposables. What the film doesn't do is offer an opposing viewpoint despite, at least it appears, an effort to offer an opposing voice to the American Chemical Society, an organization that is otherwise treated rather scathingly throughout the film. In fact, it's in Berrier's efforts to contact the American Chemical Society that the film most resembles a Michael Moore production as Berrier sort of semi-taunts, winks and chuckles his way through an effort that he darn well knows is going to be futile.

The absence of the American Chemical Society doesn't exactly hurt the film, though I'm sure they'd disagree. While some might argue that a balanced argument is always preferred, though there's always room at the table for the filmmaker who knows their mission and sets out to accomplish it. Suzan Beraza has a long history of creating socially and environmentally responsible documentaries such as Life's a Beach, Water, Blue Planet Run and A Clear Solution. Her extensive background working in these very issues pays off as Bag It is well researched, well presented and genuinely entertaining.

Beraza discovered a goldmine in selecting the personable and funny Jeb Berrier, host for a morning television show on Plum TV, as the film's host and public persona. Berrier has the self-deprecating humor of Morgan Spurlock and the convictions and screen presence of Michael Moore as he takes us on a journey through the scientific, political and social implications of plastic dependence. The perfect touch, and it's difficult to figure how this could have been pre-planned (unless the person in the film is not Berrier's real life partner), is the incorporation of the pregnancy of Berrier's partner into the scenario. By including this issue, Bag It takes a global issue and makes it a truly intimate one.

The film is a blending of interviews, archival footage, creative graphics and Berrier's own antics into an argument that is well presented in a way that is quite easily understood even for the non-scientific mind. Bag It has been wildly successful on the film festival circuit having received several audience awards and other jury prizes, and continues to be screened at online venues, on public television and in hosted screenings throughout the country.

For more information on Bag It, visit the film's website at the link under the credits. If this is an issue that matters to you or you've simply found yourself interested in learning more, Bag It is an informative and entertaining way to introduce yourself to an issue that matters to you and to the world around you. For information on upcoming screenings, visit Constellation TV.

I thought I'd tried. I really did.

Truthfully, I haven't. But, as Berrier points out time and again in Bag It, it's really never too late to make a better choice and decide to Bag It.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic