Palm Springs Film Festival: The Biggest Little Farm


Amongst rolling hills just north of Los Angeles, The Biggest Little Farm resurrected all of my childhood dreams of living on and owning a flourishing, stunning, organic and environmentally-focused farm. When I was younger I had an intense love for animals and plants only rivaled by the two stars of this delightful documentary: John and Molly Chester. The pair had dreams like mine (particularly Molly) as they lived in a small apartment in Santa Monica where John worked as a wildlife filmmaker and Molly blogged about cooking and organic living. Their dream was a bit complicated: creating a farm in harmony with nature that draws from elements of traditional farming is unsurprisingly difficult in this modern world. With quite a bit of determination along with the help of some experts, Molly and John began the long and challenging process of achieving their dream. I had done almost no research on the film before I arrived at my screening—I only knew it was about farming from its title, obviously. Luckily, the energetic documentary is nearly magical, and I was absolutely enthralled for the 89-minute duration of the film. The Biggest Little Farm was entirely compelling from start to finish and my emotions rose and fell along with the trials and failures of the farm that I was experiencing on screen.

John Chester holding two of the farm’s Great Pyrenees when they were puppies.

The couple knows hardly anything about farming, however, their hopeful inexperience provides a classroom for themselves and the younger people they recruit to help them build their dream. The film itself teaches the abundant lessons that the Chesters learned as they tried to create a blossoming and self-regulating ecosystem. Perhaps its greatest asset is the fact that it never addresses the problem of global warming up front. Rather, it displays the devastating impacts it has on their ecosystem (wildfires and drought) and focuses on the solutions. It is motivational and utterly inspirational, teaching us the impact that a few people can have on their immediate environment. Despite it being filled with a few moments of cliched sentimentality and cheesy music, The Biggest Little Farm‘s beauty and warmth will sweep you off of your feet. The film’s biggest strength comes in the form of John’s filmmaking background, which lends itself to brilliantly gorgeous visuals and shots that make you want to sprint towards their farm and embrace each of the sweet animals and heavenly orchard trees.

The film has easily become one of my most treasured documentaries, right up alongside Blackfish and Chasing Corals (obviously I have a thing for nature-related docs). Beautiful, lush, moving, and rich with life, The Biggest Little Farm is an opulent story of our deep connection to the earth and land that surrounds us.


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Jenna Kalishman

BA in English and film studies. Early English literature as well as fantasy and sci-fi fanatic. Bylines include Lithium Magazine, Hey Alma, and Flip Screened. @jenkalish on socials.

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