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maryann johanson, ruining movies since 1997

The Cat Rescuers documentary review: being the change you want to see in the world

The Cat Rescuers green light

MaryAnn’s quick take…

A tiny, delicate, inspiring metaphor for the reshaping of attitudes we will need to make on a planetary scale, and for the effort we’ll need to expend to clean up the enormous messes we have made.
I’m “biast” (pro): loveses the kittehs
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
women’s participation in this film
male director, male screenwriter, female protagonist
(learn more about this)

There are half a million — or maybe more — abandoned and feral cats in New York City. This charming documentary introduces us to four volunteer animal lovers who are spending their own time and money trying to fix this inhumane situation in their own little corners of Brooklyn, some in conjunction with volunteer org Brooklyn Animal Action.

Sassee spends $500 a month on cat food and litter, and pays out-of-pocket to spay and neuter the strays she catches and releases. Stu “find[s] it almost an honor” being followed down the street by the homeless cats he feeds daily. Claire is astonished by how “friendly” the strays she encounters are. And Tara? Well, the cats she rescued actually saved her. (I’ll leave you to discover how.)

The Cat Rescuers

Happy rescued cat is happy…

This Kickstarter-backed movie is, in many ways, the very epitome of the notion that we have to be the change we want to see in the world, in its depiction of a small-scale example of how the human relationship with nature damaged it, and the little things that can be done to make it all right again. (You don’t have to go wandering the streets rescuing strays to help. Spay and neuter your pets, folks! And don’t treat them as disposable toys.) Small acts go a very long way indeed… but The Cat Rescuers reminds us, too, that even the most devoted of cat lovers have limited financial and emotional resources, and so it gently advocates for the government support — which need only be quite minimal! — that could solve the problem for good.

This inspiring movie is a tiny, delicate metaphor for the reshaping of attitudes we as a planetary culture will need to make on the largest scale imaginable, and the effort we’ll need to expend to clean up enormous messes of our own making. It is a task, we may glean from The Cat Rescuers, that is not impossible, and comes with its own pleasant and soul-satisfying rewards.


Click here for my ranking of this and 2019’s other releases.



green light 3.5 stars

The Cat Rescuers (2019) | directed by Rob Fruchtman, Steve Lawrence
US/Can release: Jul 05 2019
UK/Ire release: Oct 15 2019 (direct to VOD)

MPAA: not rated
BBFC: rated 12 (infrequent strong language)

viewed at home on PR-supplied physical media or screening link

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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