Ali Gordon


“What she taught me was to feel…that you’re a part of this place, not a visitor. That’s a huge difference.”

This a quote from the Netflix documentary My Octopus teacher which if you haven’t watched it I would definitely recommend. It was the winner of Best Documentary at the Oscars and whilst we all have our opinions and may disagree on what wins and what gets nominated there is a reason in my view that this was nominated…and then won.

To give you a loose overview of the synopsis of the movie, a man who has hit a hard time in regards to his mental health ends up deciding to visit the same part of a kelp forest somewhere in South Africa. He dives down every day for a year going to the same spot and bonds with an Octopus. The rest you will need to watch to find out but I would suggest at this point that if you want to know nothing more before you watch it that you definitely should stop reading and go watch it.

It’s a relaxing watch and certainly grabbed my attention, as the documentary went on it was fascinating to see what the guy was learning and then as the end of the film came it was both heart-warming and inspiring to hear him talk about how he was made to feel a part of something rather than just a visitor. A life perspective he had gained through work and pleasure. 

This attitude and that distinction of feeling like you belong and are not just visiting is so important especially off the back of Mental Health Awareness week last month. I think it can be instinctive to distance ourselves and make ourselves not feel a part of something in order to protect ourselves and I think it’s something I’m looking to be more conscious of with regards to others.

The other thing I really took from this documentary was that if you look harder you can see a whole lot more. Having seen this guy go to the same spot every day for a year it was great to hear how buoyed he was by the new beauty he was finding in the nuances of this same place. He didn’t need to see a different place every day to be stimulated but rather found greater beauty in the same spot over and over. Looking at the same thing but seeing things differently. It shows how much you can miss when you only look at something once and how there is always more than meets the eye.

Those of you that have already seen the film let me know what you think and what you took from it.

Take care

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