I managed to catch an early morning performance months after release, sneaking in with an 'Oldies Club' audience. I was not holding my breath for them or me to be blown away by it... but straight away I was fascinated by its simplicity as a story and its wonderfully calm and relaxing effect. It was a perfect antidote to stressful examinations at school I was revising for!
The cinematography of the wilds of Canada and its inhabitants felt like a documentary and you almost expected the director's brother to narrate the proceedings. The pace is slow and methodical, something in Attenborough's films, that have made him a love-him or loathe-him artist.
Raw emotion is one of his excellent qualities and he makes the actors feel like they don't have to act to impress the audience, just to tell like it is. The cameos by Hollywood's well known Red Indians add to the cast list a depth, even if their roles are limited. Fenton's music is light and dreamy - and the usual Attenborough crew perform admirably conveying the story about Archie in his travels as entertainment.
The defining moment in the film for me however is when Archie returns to his house in Hastings, reunited with his Aunts. He makes his way to his old bedroom where his inspiration was born. It was wonderful for some reason, really emotional and satisfying.
Simplicity and calm has never been so engaging in a film. Obviously I am a fan, but I do think people should not expect something epic or ground breaking in every film they see. People should see this film if they want to be told a story, and who appreciate nature and its beauty as much as Grey Owl himself did.