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Bill Nye: Science Guy (NR)

Documentary 101 min. October 27, 2017
By Tatiana Craine
After making a name for himself as a goofy TV scientist loved by school kids, can Bill Nye inspire a grown-up audience? Wide-reaching documentary Bill Nye: Science Guy tests this hypothesis as Nye navigates life after the Science Guy TV series.

Directors David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg have tapped into something deeper than vanilla hagiography. Neil deGrasse Tyson and Ann Druyan, along with Nye's old television show cohorts, James McKenna and Erren Gottlieb, offer insights into the man behind the camera -- but this isn't just a bunch of talking heads. The filmmakers aren't afraid to show Nye's less bubbly side, including his early thirst for fame that led to a DOA pre–Science Guy pilot and the trust issues Nye has developed after decades in the limelight.

The doc follows Nye as he battles climate change and evolution deniers, works on a solar sail and relives memories at his childhood home. Nye's passion for learning is as evident as his skepticism when he steps onto the infamous re-creation of Noah's ark built by the creationist Ken Ham. Ham's an easy nemesis, but Nye is inspiring in his drive to broaden the perspectives of even those who are relentlessly anti-science.

In an intimate moment, a researcher talks to Nye about fame, asking about why he sacrificed starting a family in order to work. For a moment, Nye continues performing for her and for the camera before quietly reflecting: He chose this life. It's a small but human moment that gives even more gravity to an imperfect man who has dedicated his life to making the world better.
David Alvarado, Jason Sussberg Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Ann Druyan, Heather Berlin, Francis Collins PBS Distribution

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