Title: My Octopus Teacher
Released: 2020

Fix: Nature Documentary Under the Sea in an Octopus’ Garden (But Also Maybe A Sad)
Platform: Netflix

Netflix Summary:

A filmmaker forges an unusual friendship with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest, learning as the animal shares the mysteries of her world.

FYA Summary:

Every day for nearly a year, this dude visits an octopus in her natural habitat. During these visits, he discovers how resilient and resourceful this strange little creature is. (I don’t know about y’all, but I didn’t really have any opinions on octopuses? Like, real talk: I realized that I might not have actually known what real wild octopuses looked like before I watched this. This doc compares them as being the closest thing we have to aliens, but LIKE ACTUALLY.)

Familiar Faces:

Craig Foster as himself

The human in question! I will admit that I was rolling my eyes at the beginning when he talked about swimming with minimal gear to be closer to nature, but he does actually seem sincere. And he understands the importance of staying in his lane, since he has to quash his instinct to help the octopus in order to avoid interfering with nature. (Also, as someone who isn’t a particularly strong swimmer, I’m very curious about how long can he hold his breath for and how deep he’s diving. I know there’s movie magic involved, but it just seems like he’s underwater forever!)

Couch-Sharing Capability: High (Theoretically)

I mean, nature docs are like one of the most inoffensive genres there are. (Although there are some tense parts because nature, and the ending gives off Charlotte’s Web vibes, if you’re picking up what I’m putting down.) You can watch this with literally anybody, but also don’t do that in person because there is still a worldwide pandemic. 

Recommended Level of Inebriation: Whatever Floats Your Boat

Even though there’s a plot, you don’t necessarily need to pay full attention to enjoy the beautiful and soothing underwater shots. (As with most nature things, this could also pair well with substances which may or may not be legal in your area.)

Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Decent

Maybe it’s being landlocked with zero possibility of seeing an ocean for probably the next two years, but this was a pleasant escape to somewhere far away — and someplace that seems like it would be absolutely untouched by COVID, i.e., THE DREAM. 


Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.