Fantastic Fungi | Chicago Reader

Fantastic Fungi

If you don’t already find mushrooms fascinating, this documentary might change your mind. Director Louie Schwartzberg’s ode to mycelium, the underground organism that begets toadstools and allows fungi to absorb nutrients from their environment, takes viewers on a whimsical journey across time and space. Mycologist Paul Stamets and other passionate experts shed light on fungi’s many extraordinary abilities as a healer, cleaner, and sustainer of the natural world. What's more, certain fungi can bolster human immunity and have powerful, arguably beneficial effects on our brains. Overall, the doc could use more gravitas; syrupy narration from actor Brie Larson sounds like it was pulled from a children's educational program. But the enthusiasm with which Schwartzberg explores his subject, not to mention his crew’s gorgeous visual effects and time-lapse photography, prove irresistible. Chances are you’ll never look at a mushroom in the same way again.

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