Flow: For Love of Water - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Flow: For Love of Water Reviews

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June 3, 2015
Can Anyone Really Own Water?

It is no secret that our water supply is declining and bottling it all up is not the right way to go. FLOW: For The Love of Water is a documentary that sheds light on the hardship humans will face if we continue to take water for granted. The documentary takes an international study approach by jumping to different countries. The director Irena Salena gathered information about bottled water, water contamination, privatization and the effects on vulnerable people across the globe. The people interviewed for this documentary were: Thames Water; the International Monetary Fund; President of Pacific Institute; CEO of Suez; activists; leaders from developing countries; researchers and professors from universities. The film begins with a national perspective as to how the United States' waters are being contaminated from pesticides and chemicals, specifically Prozac. Then, the film shifts between international lenses varying from Bolivia, Argentina, and India. Like many other documentaries that dig to find the truth under controversial disputes regarding environment issues or food production, "FLOW: For The Love of Water" establishes the argument that water is not just water anymore but rather has converted itself to a 21st century commodity through privatization. It is important to watch this documentary because it provides an argument not from the foreign perspective but from the individuals who are undergoing a human struggle for survival and how they have mobilized against large corporations and water diseases.
What made this film unique were the astonishing images of water being contaminated not only by chemicals, but also with blood and sewage waste. The grotesque image is able to make any audience cringe and rethink culture of privatization of water. In South Africa for example, mothers are screaming and arguing with water and sanitation services who have forced the community to either pay for their water supply or forced to drink polluted water to survive, only to run the risk of dying of cholera in the future. "We don't have a choice" is the cry of a mother who is afraid of not being able to provide clean water for her children and family.
The documentary is for an audience who is willing to learn and have their eyes opened to the lack of clean water due to greedy companies who look no further than the profits they gain. This film is overwhelming with facts and interviews from researchers, activists and leaders who care about having access to drinking water, but it will not leave the audience feeling powerless. Rather, it inspires one to make the change with small adjustments to everyday routines. Many feel that documentaries of water are just stating the obvious facts that everyone already knows. But, FLOW compares water to the human's blood circulation and how any form of scarcity or pollution can disrupt its function. The question is: how do we change a system that has already created fatal damage to developing countries? For example, in India, "the cost for person a year for having 10 liters of safe drinking water everyday is just two dollars".
The film was strong in providing imagery of vulnerable communities in Bolivia, India, and South Africa who daily suffer from contamination of water. The transitions of scenes during the film from country to country varied from dams, lakes, rivers, and the sound effects of rippling thrusting water attracts the viewer to continue watching and at times thirsty. Having different examples of need for water around the world sheds light on the immense catastrophe that can occur if nothing is done to maintain clean accessible drinking water. The director did a phenomenal job of having the filmmakers capture the everyday lifestyle of victims of water contamination. For example, kids who live in slum areas playing with water puddles with sewage waste while their mothers wash the clothes with the same water. The close up shots draws sympathy and makes the film more personal and back to home. What was troubling was not hearing more about local community members about their experiences from not having access to water. Instead the film focuses on the perspective of foreign researchers who are "experts" on the matter of privatization and contamination of water. Also, the film used the case of Nestle vs. Michigan as an example of resistance but discourages audience to at least try to challenge corporate greed for water by going against water issues. It left the audience with the feeling of powerlessness because regardless of the legal accusation that the water pumping was damaging their access to water, Nestle was still pumping water and nothing changed. "Nestle owns over 70 bottled water brands around the world including some of America's most popular brands: Poland Spring, Ozarka, Ice Mountain, Deer Park, Perrier, Pellegrino, Zephyrhills, and Arrowhead". Many may have already once in their lifetime been guilty of consuming one of these bottled waters and never asked themselves about the process, is it legal or not, or was it righteous? When companies are just pumping "450 gallons of water per minute," we have to think how sustainable that is for streams, rivers, and bodies of water that have been the main water source for many individuals?
The film is a three star documentary because it took too long to make its points by just providing multiple examples involved in the crisis for water. The movie tried to handle many water issues in multiple parts of the world and made the comprehension of the content difficult. The film is overstuffed with information, the voice narrator has a pessimistic tone, and the close to science fiction facts on reptile mutations fails to convince the viewer to join the fight against rich corporations. On a brighter note, FLOW may not be a casual Friday night movie to watch, but it will surely open your eyes to the water exploitation going on and the fatal consequences it has already caused. So maybe next time the grocery store has a sale on bottle water, stop to think as to who had to suffer in order for customers to have their water on special. Water is not just a part of earth, but 70% of our body because water owns life.
June 19, 2013
A true-life horror story that is straightforward and very frightening.
May 28, 2013
Very educational and moving documentary. highly recommended!
July 25, 2012
This movie is a MUST see. For those of you that are hip to water privatization and article 31, then you'll enjoy the straight forward way in which this film connects all of us. For those of you that are not hip to either - then you should watch this. Very informative, VERY scary, and will ultimately effect us all.
½ June 22, 2012
Not my favorite water documentary, but it was pretty good.
May 12, 2012
A fine introduction to the incredible problems that water privatization causes. Generally, it's a very nice film to look at. While I agree with film's premise, the alleged logic of water privateers isn't explored deeply. It should be.
½ April 18, 2012
The greedy rich strike again!
February 27, 2012
Given its controversial title, "Flow" turned out to be a rather well-balanced documentary. It focuses on the often overlooked impact of water shortages or lack of its affordability in many poor and often densely populated rural areas. While the move focuses primarily on rural India, it also offers some engaging overview of the situation in the US. The principal argument is that first, the water should remain a public resources. Second, locally-managed water pumps sustained by recipient communities make clean drinking water both cheaper and more fairly distributed. As an example, the movie gives a community-run UV treatment facility, where 10 litres of clean drinking water per person per day can be obtained at less than $2 per year.

To give a sense of balance, the movie features commentary by a former IMF official and the CEO of Vivendi - a water management business. However, those are often used simply to back producer's intention to vilify practices by MNCs such as Videndi, Suez or Nestle. A more-informed discussion of the benefits those companies bring would have been welcome.

The movie also offers no discussion of severe under-pricing of water which in turn leads to overconsumption. There is also no discussion of the potential socio-economic benefits that dams can bring to the affected regions.

Notwithstanding, the documentary was both very informative and stimulating. While a bit light on cost-benefit analysis, it will be appreciated not only by Development Economists by all those with broader interest in the world around them.

Dominik Kania
September 15, 2011
Nestle wants to rape yo' water!
August 23, 2011
This is a very powerful documentary and it is making me re-think whom I buy bottled water from and even changing to one of those water vending machines located at the supermarket (so long as they are not owned by evil multinationals Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestle, et al).
July 18, 2011
Watch this documentary. Do it. Now.
June 14, 2011
awesome doc-now i have a whole new list of things 2b paranoid about.
June 6, 2011
Boo. Boring and annoying.
May 29, 2011
Let's take action before the wells run dry!
March 30, 2011
February 23, 2011
Looked at problems but didn't link some of the various issues - often just resting the blame on mulitnationals. Promotes local solutions and sustainable solutions but doesn't really make clear that local AND sustainable solutions are the only answer. Being only one or the other isn't enough - and it MAY even be that multinationals are the ones best placed to deliver those solutions?!?

Certainly agree with other issues raised regarding common property, political accountability and corruption needing to be adressed urgently.
February 16, 2011
Cinematograficamente no es el mejor de los documentales, la fotografia no es la mejor y la linea argumental no esta del todo bien. Sin embargo es un gran documental gracias a su gran contenido y a la denuncia que hace sobre el grave problema que tenemos con el agua y como ya han aparecido corporaciones que la estan comprando para revendernola, de ahi la formidable iniciativa de apoyar un nuevo articulo en la declaracion de los derechos humanos para que se respete el libre acceso de los humanos al agua limpia.
Vale mucho la pena verlo.
½ February 12, 2011
Save water! someone somewhere doesn't enjoy the same luxury..
January 31, 2011
Big eye-opener and a wake up call! A must-see.
½ January 16, 2011
The movie is a bit long at the beginning, but picks up during the second half.

A real eye opener. A whole lot of people I know swear by bottled water. They don't realize that bottled water is just tap water that was trucked over from the other side of the country. It's way less regulated. And those companies that pump water out of the ground and rivers have a devastating effect on the environment and communities surrounding the water plant. They then sell this tap water for a lot more than people would pay for gas.
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