‘Dukale’s Dream’ Review

By Eli Ralston

When I first heard that the premise of Dukale’s Dream was about Hugh Jackmans‘ trip to Ethopia, I really thought this was going to be a film all about Hugh Jackman with no real world value. I thought it was going to be just some actor trying to relieve some guilt by visiting this place once and throwing a few thousand dollars at it and pretend like he fixed everything. I could not have been more wrong.

     The film begins as we follow actor Hugh Jackman and his wife Debora-Lee Furness on their trip to Ethiopia in their roles as ambassadors for World Vision Australia, a group that provides relief and help to poorer nations all over the world. It is during that visit where they meet Dukale, a local coffee farmer who’s work has been cut in half due to climate change caused by deforestation. Dukale grew up in poverty and was unable to receive an education on modern farming techniques, but World Vision had provided some new economic opportunities through technology to help him build up his village around him. We see Jackman work with and learn from Dukale and about how important the coffee market is to the country of Ethiopia. Jackman actually acts more like the narrator of the film instead of the main focus, as he is the one leading us through this story of meeting Dukale.

Dukale’s Dream is a truly inspiring documentary that uses an everyday product like coffee to really send a message about not only how we should be helping third world countries through more than just relief aid, but by education and giving the right materials to create a sustainable area. But also a message about the environment and the massive amounts of deforestation going on not only in Africa, but around the world. You really feel that Hugh Jackman truly cares about this issue and is honestly trying to learn and get into the shoes of Dukale. You can truly see a transformation in the way he feels about the subject and what he thinks should be done.

     Dukale’s Dream does an excellent job of balancing two different messages without one message overpowering the other. The idea that we shouldn’t just provide aid for when there is a crisis, but we should instead be providing education and sustainable solutions that will make it to where if another emergency occurs, that nation won’t need anyone’s help. It’s something that we don’t hear about very much in the media today, but it’s something that should be said. The other message of leaving less of a carbon foot print by supporting these better farming practices isn’t really a major fix to solving the o-zone crisis, but its a step at least.

The film itself is well shot with some great cinematography, especially for some of the b-roll shots. None of the interviews with Dukale or anyone in Ethiopia felt too staged. They felt like natural conversations. The film is also very well paced and doesn’t really slow down as we go through the trip and the aftermath.

All in all Dukale’s Dream is a perfect example of a documentary not just focusing on one issue, but intertwining multiple issues which makes it feel more realistic because in real life multiple issues connect with each other. In a film that could have been bogged down by a massive star like Hugh Jackman being in the film, it actually strives beyond that to prove that the story of Dukale is the star here and that really creates a documentary that is something special.

Verdict: Incredible, Dukale’s Dream isn’t bogged down by having a huge star like Hugh Jackman on the project. It proves to be something more and shows that even small changes make the biggest difference.
Positives: Wonderful job with two different interconnecting messages, Hugh Jackman’s curiosity and generosity feels genuine, the story of Dukale is inspiring.
Negatives: One moment almost felt like a commercial for world vision