Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 6 Ratings

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  • Summary: Jon Shenk’s The Island President is the story of President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives, a man confronting a problem greater than any other world leader has ever faced—the literal survival of his country and everyone in it. After bringing democracy to the Maldives after thirty years of despotic rule, Nasheed is now faced with an even greater challenge: as one of the most low-lying countries in the world, a rise of three feet in sea level would submerge the 1200 islands of the Maldives enough to make them uninhabitable. (Samuel Goldwyn Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Mar 31, 2012
    Nasheed has traveled the world describing the Maldives as the Poland of global warming - meaning, of course, Poland in 1939. If his country cannot be saved from rising sea levels, he maintains, then there may be no saving Tokyo or Mumbai or New Orleans or New York.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Apr 6, 2012
    Nasheed is no saint, and if he had remained in office, maybe, as with so many others, he would have capitulated to politics as usual. But his temper, if not his outcome, is inspiring.
  3. Reviewed by: Phil Contrino
    Apr 3, 2012
    A gripping new documentary that's essential viewing for anybody who believes that the impact of global warming is tomorrow's problem.
  4. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Mar 25, 2012
    The film successfully positions its point of view with the developing countries that suffer the most immediate consequences of global warming rather than the developed countries most responsible for climate change and from whose citizenry Jon Shenk's prospective audience is likely to be drawn.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Mar 29, 2012
    Jon Shenk's fascinating documentary feature The Island President personalizes the threat of global warming, and nationalizes it too, by focusing on Mohamed Nasheed, the former president of the Maldives.
  6. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Mar 29, 2012
    The hope that infuses this movie makes it all the more upsetting to walk out of the theater and contemplate a looming disaster that the world's leaders seem unable to prevent.
  7. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Mar 27, 2012
    It's fascinating to be so close to a then-sitting head of state as he negotiates for his homeland's survival, and the news that Nasheed was recently deposed in a coup by Gayoom loyalists makes the hard-won victories he did secure all the more poignant.

See all 14 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. May 1, 2013
    A vital document on a vital subject. You don't have to like what you see here. It's a story set around a major diplomatic failure, and as such the footage should be heart-breaking. But the primary hero of the movie is well chosen since he lifts us from despair to an inspired state, realizing that the political course of action is just a sum of inputs from more-or-less heroic individuals. We follow arguably the most heroic, and thereby see an example worth our full attention. The documentary shows footage from negotiations, speeches, the political struggle, and the dreaded COP15-conference. It also shows footage from Maldives, about the current impacts of rising waters (or.. that was four years ago) and Mr Nasheed's service on the islands. It never gets heavy or dull (as this long review), but uses lots of music (by Radiohead mostly) and visually interesting shots to feel fresh and moving. It is an important document in order to know of the struggles of individuals when the leaders of the rich failed to come together for the world, and it is a strong testemony to Mr Nasheed's struggle and work. If Muhamed Nasheed is ever to be judged by anyone, I hope this movie will be played in his defense.. Expand
  2. Apr 2, 2012
    The hope that infuses this movie makes it all the more upsetting to walk out of the theater and contemplate a looming disaster that the world's leaders seem unable to prevent. Expand