• Nicole Sherwin

Film Review: My Octopus Teacher

The greatest love story on Netflix right now.

I'm already crying. Source: CNN

I like to take a nap most days, because I can, so I popped this on in the background, thinking the soothing narration might put me to sleep - only I did not sleep a wink.


Emmy-nominated documentarian Craig Foster was mentally exhausted. He never wanted to see another camera or editing room again and was no good to his family in that state. To reclaim his health, he decides to move back to his childhood hometown - Cape Town, South Africa, where his fondest childhood memories were spent swimming in the rock pools.


He makes a pact with himself to swim in the kelp forest every day. Craig comes across as a gentle, soothing, calm man, but he is really a boss. Those waters are some of the roughest in the world. It makes Bondi look like a kiddy pool. Not to mention what lies beneath. There’s more sharks than Shark Week. But he is so chill. Oh, and he swims every day without a wetsuit in temperatures of eight degrees.


It’s under the water that he develops a life-changing relationship with a common octopus. Yes, I did say that.

He first sees her, covered in shells, in what he will learn months later is camouflage from predators. Day by day, they build trust, forming a bond that you haven’t even seen in a David Attenborough documentary. The octopus, who is a female, but has no name, begins by letting him touch one arm, while her body is safely tucked away in her den. Slowly, she comes out further and further and eventually she's following him around and lets Craig touch her. She eventually will give up what she’s doing to go and cuddle Craig when she sees him.