Three Films About Food

January 2, 2011


If you’ve ever wondered how much mercury the tuna you are eating has in it, why farmers have to buy new seed every year, why so many things in the grocery store have corn in them, what the buzz is behind the local food movement, or any other of a host of food-related questions then you’ll find people talking about these three films. We can recommend two of them.

Food Inc.:  This film is trying to answer the question: “What is wrong with our food system and how to did come to be this way?” Drawing from Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and Eric Schlosser’s “Fast Food Nation” the filmmakers try to set forth a history of the industrialization of food and the consequences of that change for America. It is an entertaining and journalistically well-researched account of a lot of negatives of our food system (rampant diabetes, chemicals in processed foods, animal cruelty) and some positives as well (farmer Joel Salatin, practical ways about how you can make a change). It was nominated for an Oscar in 2010. Recommended.

The Cove: The Cove tells the story of a group of eco-activists clandestinely trying to expose the mass-slaughtering of dolphins in a tiny cove in Japan. The trailer watches more like a James Bond movie than a tame nature documentary. This film is like mission impossible meets Food Inc. for fish. I couldn’t stop watching. Also, it won the Oscar in 2010 for Best Documentary. Recommended.

Fast Food Nation: Fast Food Nation is a fictionalized version of Eric Schlosser’s book of the same name. The story centers on a beef processing plant in Colorado, and tells the stories of several characters – an ad exec who buys meat from the plant, a Mexican immigrant who works there, a group of student activists who want to shut it down – detailing various injustices that each of them encounter as they learn more about exactly what goes on at the plant. Not recommended. You should be aware of this film, but we do not recommend it due to its R rating and due to inappropriate language and sexual content.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

lynn stafford January 3, 2011 at 9:42 pm

I can’t believe you are promoting Fast Food Nation. The foul language and sex scenes are totally inappropriate

Ben DeVries January 5, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Lynn, when I read this review, I also thought back to the sex scene in Fast Food Nation (I don’t remember if there was more than one), and wondered if it might be appropriate to add a comment to that effect. That said, I think the movie on the whole paints a valuable panorama of industrial animal farming to fast food consumption, including a depiction of reality for low wage workers in the industry. best wishes, Ben (Not One Sparrow, a Christian voice for animals)

Sheila-As The Rooster Crows Rescue and Sanctuary January 6, 2011 at 11:01 am

We can’t know the truth if we limit our exposure to it, no matter how vulgar or violent it is. And we can’t really fight or respond to reality if we only know half truths.

admin January 6, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Thanks, Lynn, for the reminder. Our reviewer’s initial screening of Fast Food Nation was cursory and in the distant past. We feel it would have been a far stronger film if those objectionable elements were not included. We don’t recommend this film, for the reasons that you gave. It is part of the food conversation, as was the book on which it was based. We will exercise more careful judgment in future reviews. Thanks again.

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