Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy (Mimi deGruy, 2019): USA

Reviewed by William Edwards at the 2019 Santa Barbara Film Festival.

The documentary film, “Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy, opened at the Santa Barbara Film Festival on it’s opening night and was an enormous hit due to it’s strong empathic testimony from other luminaries, it’s breathtaking cinematography and it’s subject matter: an enormously passionate and competent explorer by the name of Mike deGruy.

It’s narrative was well thought out since it gives all the necessary understanding of the man himself: from his diving backround, the love of the oceans and his fearlessness for exploration.  We also see a very competent man, perhaps a master in his oeuvre who pushes through not only for a clear search for knowledge, experience and understanding of a domain of our oceanic life but who is clearly politically aware of all the problems that can occur through business interests and poor sewardship.

This documentary also had the advantage of being told and filed by Mike’s widow, Mimi deGruy who, if anyone, could give us a close perspective into the nature of this fascinating person.  And it was born out in great detail as to the brilliance and flaws of the man himself.  What we get is a clear development of a man of such temperament that would make a lasting contribution to the study of oceanography in addition to the flaws of such a person.  In what I consider a nod to what most people who study gender differences and relationship dynamics something very obvious was very naively presented as one of his glaring flaws.

Mike probably had some of the greatest assets for attracting a woman: rugged masculinity, ambition, competence, charm and gentleness.  What I found amusing is that Mimi, like many women do, considered his lack of communication and emotional expressiveness as something of a shock as if she was expecting something of a combination of man and woman – a competent masculine partner and an emotionally expressive man – which hardly ever happens in real life.  If a man is going full throttle into his career, spending untold weeks out of the year traveling to all parts of the globe and driven to excellence; it’s hardly likely he’s going to be psychologically and emotionally astute at the same time!  Few men are like that.  Nevertheless, as many women throughout history are very influential in the work of their husband, we see that here in Mimi – a steadfast wife who dived herself, raised his children and lived a wonderful life with an amazingly talented and driven man who unfortunately come to a tragic end way too soon.  A must see documentary.

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