The spirit is willing but the filmmaking is weak in “Arise,” a touchy-feely documentary with laudable dual messages of empowering women and healing the planet. Offering snapshot portraits of female environmental activists across four continents, pic leaves viewers with plenty of platitudes but very little impactful information, let alone an urge to effect change. Viability beyond extremely specialized engagements is nil.
Mother and daughter co-directors Lori Joyce and Candice Orlando adopt such a gentle approach, they’ve made the docu equivalent of a warm bath — so relaxing it challenges auds to stay awake. From the soothing musical selections (including two tunes by Moby) to narrator Daryl Hannah’s calming incantations of various nature poems, the kumbaya vibe dodges the strident tone of many environmental docus but sacrifices vitality in the process. Despite an impressive global scope and admirable ethnic diversity among the interview subjects, the central thesis that women are leading the charge on green issues receives nothing but anecdotal support. Of the dozen-plus talking heads, only a few — including Sustainable South Bronx founder Majora Carter and Endocrine Disruption Exchange founder Theo Colborn — manage to make vivid impressions.