What are you watching? ‘Kangaroo Valley’

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

If you’ve never had the opportunity to get a close and personal look at Australia’s unique marsupials, then Netflix’s “Kangaroo Valley” may be the documentary for you. Follow the coming-of-age journey of Mala, an eastern gray kangaroo joey, as she leaves the relative safety of her mother’s pouch to develop into a doe in the mob of kangaroos living in the “secret valley.” 

Narrated by Australian actress Sarah Snook, the documentary showcases the biodiversity of the region Mala grows up in and how the wildlife interacts with one another. Predatory dingos, a grouchy wombat, and numerous bird species are the kangaroos’ neighbors. Mala learns to be vigilant for disturbances in the peace within her home environment, such as the screeching of ravens when a wedgetail eagle, Australia’s largest raptor bird, appears. Alongside the other animals, the climate impacts the kangaroo’s lives with a hot summer and a snowy, plant-freezing winter. 

Amidst the struggle to survive, a running theme director Kylie Scott instilled in the documentary is growing up. Mala learning the kangaroo trade from her mother is just one example. We see a male joey named Buru watch the bucks boxing during mating season to assert their dominance and a young dingo named Miro, an unsuccessful hunter eventually forced out of his pack to fend for himself. 

“Kangaroo Valley” celebrates the wildlife and environment in one slice of Australia, displaying the weird, the wondrous, and the stories of the island continent’s inhabitants. It reminded me of how nature lovers on Martha’s Vineyard express their affection toward the ecosystem on our Island, just with more Down-Under flair. 

I’ll leave you with this fun fact: Kangaroo Valley is also the name of a real location in New South Wales, Australia.

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