Review by John Delia, Sr.

Philanthropist environmentalists like Doug and Kris Tompkins are far and few between. Over the years there have been many for different causes, but not like the Tompkins who came up with an idea that changed a continent. Wild Life is their story on how using activism that “was not someone else has to pay for it” worked in a good way to benefit mankind. The film is very heartfelt, compassionate and sometimes exciting and a tribute to the wildlife area they created and the animals that live freely in their own habitats.

Kris Tompkins looks up at the sky with the Patagonian mountain range as her backdrop. WILD LIFE from Picturehouse

It’s Patagonia, Chili 2015, and Kris Tompkins attends the funeral of her husband Doug due to an accidental death. There, several notables talk about Doug’s attributes and the legacy he leaves. Being an environmentalist, they laud it at the top of his achievements, but so was his love for mankind. For over 25 years he worked with Kris to save wildlife lands from housing development, deforestation, and animal extinction by turning wildlife areas into national parks.

Three years after the funeral we find Kris with Rick Ridgeway, an expert climber, and filmmaker Jimmy Chin on a trip to climb a mountain in memory of her husband. It’s during this trip that Kris talks about the life she had with Doug that lead to the development of what she calls paradise in the Chilean mountains. It was an area that had been purchased by them before Doug’s untimely death.

Kris Tompkins looks up at the sky with the Patagonian mountain range as her backdrop. WILD LIFE from Picturehouse

Not a preachy documentary, the film gets under your skin and shows what most countries should do to save the environment in a way that not only provides clean air, but protects the animals and even the human inhabitants of major countries. Every country has parks, but so many governments are blind to the fact that a lot more of the land should be protected.

Wild Life has been released in theaters and may be coming to your town. Check local listings often or go on line to find a showing near you. I highly recommend the film for families, educators and naturists.

Doug Tompkins smiling in an orange hiking jacket in front of a blue sky . WILD LIFE from Picturehouse

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Kristine Tompkins, Yvon Chouinard, Rick Ridgeway
Directed and Produced by: Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin
Genre: Documentary
MPAA Rating: Not Rated, No Offensive Material
Running Time: 1 hr. 33 min.
Opening Date: May 5, 2023
Distributed by: Picturehouse
Released in: Theaters

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