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Jane Goodall is an astonishing figure in many ways.
Starting with no formal training and using controversial methods, she made astonishing breakthroughs in understanding the social behavior of chimpanzees and thus understanding ourselves.
She managed to become an extremely rare species: a scientist who was also a media darling.

And, after dedicating many years of her life to her research (at significant personal sacrifice), she left it behind to become a global spokesperson for sustainable development and conservation.
How did that happen? That’s the subject of a new National Geographic documentary Jane.

The movie is primarily based on recently rediscovered footage filmed by noted wildlife filmmaker Hugo van Lawick, who was assigned by National Geographic to film Goodall’s field work. van Lawick was there to capture a key transition in Goodall’s research and drove one in her personal life: the two would end up marrying and having a son.
While it was a pivotal time and the original footage is stunning, it provides a limited window into Goodall’s history. Other pivotal events pass by in a flash or are skipped entirely. Whether that bothers you is probably a key determinant of how much you’ll enjoy Jane.
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