Sometimes hitting the multiplex just isn’t in the cards. That’s when cable, the web and streaming step in to provide an instant movie fix. But how to separate the wheat from the chaff? I’m happy to help; every week I’ll pick a flick and see if it’s worth your time. This week it’s the documentary “Forks Over Knives”.
The Story: This documentary takes a cold, hard look at how Americans eat, and how what we decide to shove into our gaping maw affects how crappy we feel. And, how if we switch things around, how the food we put into our bodies could possibly make us feel better, and reverse health problems. Wait, so Ding-Dongs and grape soda aren’t good for me?
The Good: TONS of research went into this documentary, and it’s covered in a way that keeps viewers interested. Forks Over Knives not only throws research evidence at you, it follows test subjects in a personal way. Forks Over Knives introduces you to many different men and women who for one reason or another have been in studies or have found these doctors as a last-gasp effort to be more healthy. These people tell you in their own words how their lives and/or bodies have changed by switching to a plant based (or, in some instances, “plant strong”) diet, and not a one of ‘em sounds like a cult member. Dr. Campbell of Cornell University and Dr. Esselstyn of the Cleveland Clinic — the doctors that lead the way in this research — are personable, and incredibly hands-on, and the movie follows them through their careers to show how these docs came up with their ideas. The director himself gets in on the diet-switch, and we get to see him and his bloodwork before and after his very own guinea pig-dom; think of this movie as Un-Super Size Me. By the way, fellas, wanna know how to ditch Viagra and still be a hit with the lay-deez? Forks Over Knives’ll show you exactly how and why what you eat can affect how you get your groove on. And who knew badass Ultimate Figher Mac Danzig was a vegan?
The Bad: Though this is a very interesting documentary that has so much information on how a whole plant-based diet helps you live a healthier life, at times it seems a bit heavy handed. There’s no middle ground here; you live an oil-free, vegan way of life, or you’re doomed to a life less healthy. And I like my EVOO and Miracle Whip (yeah, I’m one of those people) too much to give ‘em up. Then again, any all-or-nothing message repeated over and over again in the course of an hour and half starts to feel a bit oppressive. Yeah, yeah, yeah; of course they’re right. Anyone who doesn’t think eating healthier would be better for them is an idiot. But we’re all a bunch of lazy putzes who would rather eat a handful of Cheetos than grapes, so I have a feeling this is a documentary that will mostly be preaching to the converted instead of those who need saving.
The Everything Else: There’s a cute animated segment in the beginning of the documentary that shows viewers how animals are pleasure seekers, thanks to the roaming of an adorably drawn great white shark. Next Shark Week I’ll be picturing them all in Hawaiian shirts & sunglasses. The pieces of old footage from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s showing how we were taught how to eat are adorably retro now, especially so after all the information this documentary throws down.
Here’s the breakdown:
Would I watch it again?: Absolutely! In fact, in light of what I had for lunch, I probably should watch it again right now.
Should you see it?: Everyone should see this film. Period. Force yourself if you have to. Whether or not it’s all true, it makes you re-evaluate your choices and asks you to live a better life. Not too shabby.
Netflix average rating: 4 ½ Stars
My rating: 5 Stars