I was recently thinking about the lives of cows, bulls, pigs and goats, and about how no one ever mentions that each and every cow, bull, pig and goat born on this planet will be murdered, skinned, chopped up and eaten. None will die peacefully in some meadow — they’ll all be led to slaughter. That’s a fairly ugly thought if you let it sink in, but that’s the reality on farms big and small. It’s therefore a little hard to share in the warm emotions that people feel when little piglets are born…”awwwhhh! Welcome to the world, babies…we love how cute you are, and by the way your throats are going to be slit one day! By us!”
From Peter Debruge’s 9.1.18 Variety review: “Directly benefiting from John Chester’s cinematography background, the otherwise casual, scrapbook-style documentary — in which old home videos and hand-drawn animation fit nicely with Jeff Beal’s folksy string score — boasts intervals of stunning, unexpectedly gorgeous wildlife footage: Drone-mounted cameras convey York’s incredible design, night vision exposes the sneaky critters who disrupt things after dark, high-frame-rate macrophotography captures each flap of a hummingbird’s wings while turning raindrops into a kind of Luftwaffe air raid for shell-shocked bugs, and so on.
“The movie covers an awful lot — roughly eight years of obstacles overcome — in its judiciously short running time, introducing a handful of lovable animal characters in the process. There’s Todd, the rescue dog whose incessant barking got the Chesters evicted from their Santa Monica apartment. And there’s Emma, the very pregnant and somewhat ornery sow who blesses them with more piglets than they know how to handle (17 in her first litter alone!), later becoming a kind of mascot for the farm after her breeding days are over.
“Audiences are invited to connect with the material as they might a good James Herriot story, forging a kind of familiarity that includes them in problem-solving each challenge, with the result that viewers share in the triumph of each tiny success.”