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President Mohamed Nasheed

The Island President is the story of President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives, a man confronting a problem greater than any other world leader has ever faced - the literal survival of his country and... read more read more... everyone in it. After bringing democracy to the Maldives after thirty years of despotic rule, Nasheed is now faced with an even greater challenge: as one of the most low-lying countries in the world, a rise of three feet in sea level would submerge the 1200 islands of the Maldives enough to make them uninhabitable. A classic David and Goliath tale, The Island President captures Nasheed's first year in office, culminating in his trip to the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009 where the film provides a rare and unprecedented glimpse of the political horse-trading that goes on between world leaders at such a top-level global assembly. -- (C) Samuel Goldwyn

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76% liked it

4,066 ratings


98% liked it

46 critics

PG, 1 hr. 41 min.

Directed by: Jon Shenk

Release Date: March 28, 2012

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DVD Release Date: November 13, 2012

Stats: 73 reviews


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Flixster Reviews (73)

  • April 1, 2012
    In the simultaneously inspiring and harrowing documentary "The Island President," Mohamed Nasheed was elected to the presidency of the Maldives, a 2000 island archipelago nation in the Indian Ocean, bringing an end to a thirty-year repressive dictatorship in 2008. But a new stru... read moreggle presents itself in global warming. Currently, the effects there can be seen in erosion and the groundwater. All of which could lead to a unique culture and nation being literally wiped from the map, and its country's population turned into 'environmental refugees.' So, instead of spending valuable resources on health care and education, he has to go with sea walls and other protective measures.

    So, through this example, we get a disturbing look at what all of our futures may be like if we do not change our ways very soon.(With the use of some great shots, the Maldvies do seem like something out of speculative fiction.) If our behavior affects all others across the globe, then why can't the butterfly flap its wings in the opposite direction, which is where Nasheed comes in, not only in speaking across the world(I'm not recommending invoking World War II usually in speehces, but if you have to, mention Czechoslovakia), but also in proposing to make his country entirely carbon neutral in 10 years by relying on renewable energy sources like solar and wind, making the Maldives an example for the rest of the world. This is harder than it sounds with the economic interests of countries like China and India making things especially difficult with a memorable climax at the climate conference at Copenhagen in 2009. But sadly, Nasheed did not have that much time as he was ousted in a threatened coup in February of this year.
  • March 14, 2013
    Former President Nasheed of the Maldives reminds me of Al Gore with his desperate plea to have carbon emissions reduced simultaneously...not just by small countries, but also by the biggest emitters including USA, China, and India. The difference between Nasheed and Gore is that ... read moreNasheed needs the carbon reduction due to the threat posed by global warming towards his low-lying island country of Maldives.

    He succeeded in getting all the big countries to sign a worldwide agreement, despite the fact that little could be seen in those countries' actions. This achievement alone makes President Nasheed deserve a standing ovation for what he has done, not just his country, but also for our planet.
  • ThomasJayWilliams
    November 25, 2012
    As (former) president of the world's lowest lying country -- the beautiful island paradise of The Maldives (Google this place!) -- Mohamed Nasheed made it part of his presidential and civil duty to educate the world's population about the importance of world climate change. His ... read morenation is at risk of disappearing off of the face of the globe if the world doesn't wisen up ... and making it a political issue places human life at risk. I had wished the film was a bit more focused on climate change as much of it appears to be a PR piece for Nasheed (who made enemies). If you don't want to believe in climate change, check out the natural beauty of the Maldives and realize that they could be gone one day. Fact ... the oceans are rising and these islands are disappearing.
  • June 11, 2012
    This movie was a dissappointment. To much politics, too little science. Way too much Copenhagen. Also too long. Skip it.

Critic Reviews

Peter Howell
June 14, 2012
Peter Howell, Toronto Star

The Island President is an important portrait of a determined man standing fast in a place where the ground is literally shifting beneath his feet. Full Review

John Hartl
May 3, 2012
John Hartl, Seattle Times

Climate-change documentaries are almost always disturbing, but "The Island President" communicates a special urgency. Full Review

Colin Covert
April 27, 2012
Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune

[An] engaging, gorgeously photographed documentary. Full Review

Tom Long
April 26, 2012
Tom Long, Detroit News

Nasheed is indeed inspirational, a cool-headed but passionate and courageous guy. You end up wishing a lot more leaders were like this guy. Full Review

Ann Hornaday
April 20, 2012
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

Shenk expertly weaves Nasheed's extraordinary personal story together with the Maldives' breathtaking natural beauty and a Capra-esque tale of dogged idealism and political courage to create wonderful... Full Review

Peter Rainer
April 6, 2012
Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

What makes Nasheed's whirligig tactics so urgent is that, unlike most other countries participating in the summit, his own nation is actually in danger of being annihilated by climate change. Full Review

Kenneth Turan
April 5, 2012
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

"The Island President"is heartening and unsettling by turns. Full Review

Walter V. Addiego
March 30, 2012
Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle

"The Island President" is a mostly compelling documentary about that rarest of breeds, an appealing politician. Full Review

Joe Morgenstern
March 29, 2012
Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

"The Island President" personalizes the threat of global warming, and nationalizes it too, by focusing on Mohamed Nasheed, the former president of the Maldives. Full Review

Noel Murray
March 29, 2012
Noel Murray, AV Club

What's fascinating and frustrating about The Island President is how it reveals international politics to be even more polarized and mired in bureaucracy than local politics. Full Review

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    • President Mohamed Nasheed: There is absolutely no scientific debate remaining. Climate change is happening now.
    • President Mohamed Nasheed: I live in the Florida Keys...water hasn't risen a 1/4" in 10+ years since all this BS started.
    • President Mohamed Nasheed: We continue to shout even though we know that your not really listening.
    • President Mohamed Nasheed: If we do not act now my island nation will be submerged by the sea.

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