1) Food, Inc.
For a variety of reasons, with few of them being terribly concrete, I am something of a vegetarian. While I had dabbled among the numerous justifications all around for cutting meat out of one’s diet, all such things sort of came to a head upon the release of Food, Inc. Seeing it tipped the scales for me. This searing look at the food industry draws from research by writers like Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser who have made their own attempts to blow the lid off the secretive operations that produce the food that eventually ends up on our dinner tables.
The film is provocative and probably the most captivating of its type. It seems to at least protect against the tendency of advocacy films and animal rights groups to come off as self-righteous and preachy. The crux of Food, Inc., where it is at its strongest, is in providing information and presenting it in a way that challenges you to really think about it; even if your thoughts turn to questioning the veracity of the film’s claims, this likely leads to further research which is a positive thing.
Finding a balance between stirring up dissent among viewers and giving them an outlet through which to channel that manufactured rage is a difficult task, but this documentary seems to strike that balance relatively well. Its recommendations aren’t the primary selling feature: getting information out and inspiring people to consider their food more carefully is its greatest achievement. If this documentary can’t convince people to think deeply about, and possibly change, their eating habits, surely nothing can.