John Chester’s story starts in 2010 in a small apartment in Santa Monica, California. John is a cinematographer working for a variety of nature programs; wife, Molly, is a private chef and food blogger. When the two adopt Todd, a midnight black rescue mutt with soulful eyes, their lives change—mainly because Todd barks all the time. Residential relocation is in order. Molly, who dreams of a children’s book version of a farm—one complete with pigs and sheep and chickens and every fruit and vegetable imaginable—convinces John to purchase 200 acres of barren land 40 miles northwest in Moorpark.

Going from barren land to a working farm takes money and a whole lot of planning. Enter Alan, a hippy guru clad in linen and sandals. Alan educates John and Molly on how to plan and plant their personal Eden while offering up analogies of farming as surfing on waves. But first, what was once dead must be brought back to life. To do so, Alan encourages the Chesters to build a massive composting facility. Moorpark spelled backward is kraproom, and soon enough, the Chesters’ farm is flourishing.

But after a year of success, death creeps back in. John and Molly are faced with a series of problems, one right after the other, with increasing severity. They want to handle each issue in the most natural way possible, but that isn’t always the easiest. Technology can mitigate some problems, but not all. At some point, you have to cede control and let nature take its course.

Here, The Biggest Little Farm finds harmony, and the Chesters find what they are looking for. It’s a sweet movie, though a bit saccharine and preachy at times. Then again, it’s hard not to be when you crack some sort of cosmic code. It’s not every day you succeed at doing something that seems impossible, even less so when you understand how. Now streaming on Hulu and Kanopy.

A version of the above review first appeared in the pages of Boulder Weekly Vol. 27, No. 8, “In search of a more harmonious way of life.”