The timely, well-made documentary “Misconception” takes a three-pronged look at contemporary population growth and the real-world results of several complex issues surrounding the topic.
Although the facts here may speak for themselves — 80% of the world’s nations now average two children per couple; Earth’s population may reach more than 9 billion by 2050 — director-producer-editor Jessica Yu effectively examines the varying impact of these and other attendant realities based upon one’s beliefs, traditions and socioeconomic situations.
The film is divided into three chapters. In the first, a Chinese man nearing 30 searches for a suitable wife in a nation whose one-child policy, which began in the late 1970s and ended at the start of 2016, unexpectedly caused a deficit of about 30 million girls. Part two follows Canadian antiabortion activist Denise Mountenay as she addresses the United Nations on behalf of her deep-rooted cause.
The third and most potent chapter spotlights Gladys Kalibbala, a heroic Ugandan journalist exploring the vast numbers of lost, abandoned or misplaced children in a populous country with the world’s third-highest birthrate. This last section serves as a kind of “in-the-trenches” rebuttal to Mountenay’s more ideologically-based campaign.
The segments are tied together by interview and lecture bits with Swedish professor and statistician Hans Rosling who offers droll, unvarnished thoughts on global population trends.
“Misconception” proves a smart, vital and absorbing portrait.
In English, Mandarin, Hindi and Russian with English subtitles
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material including some sexual references
Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes. Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills