Divide in Concord follows Jean Hill, an 84-year-old activist with a mission to ban the sale of single-serve bottled water in Concord, Massachusetts. Hill is not alone — supported by a throng of diverse and passionate characters, Hill doesn’t back down in the face of local naysayers. The opposition believes that the ban would infringe on their rights and freedoms to choose what they drink. Meanwhile, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch continues to flow with marine debris — manmade waste which ends up littering oceans, seas and animals. Despite the fact that many consumers in the doc believe this giant “trash vortex” has nothing to do with them, Hill is adamant about helping the environment by creating local change.

The documentary uses the American Revolutionary War as a metaphor for the environmental “war” that’s waging in Concord. This is emphasized when Hill often refers to the shot heard around the world – all the while starting her own revolution. Hill is a likeable character, despite how much opposition she faces. The documentary is hard to watch at times, especially when local radio jockeys and right-wing, self-proclaimed philanthropists verbally bully Hill into silence. Divide in Concord is inspiring on many levels, but one theme truly stood out: that environmental activism spans across many generations in hopes to create a better world for those who aren’t even born yet. While the documentary follows an 84-year-old and many elderly residents, budding 18-year-old environmental club members register to vote with the main purpose of supporting Hill’s mission. The film truly drives home the message that the fate of the world isn’t just their responsibility, but those before them too.

Is Divide in Concord essential festival viewing?

Divide in Concord is definitely essential Hot Docs viewing. Get ready to debate this issue hotly with your friends and family afterwards. Also, bring something to wipe your tears away.

Divide in Concord screening times

Divide in Concord trailer

Divide in Concord gallery

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