Forks Over Knives is a new food documentary that makes you take a long, hard look at what you eat. It follows filmmaker Lee Fulkerson, an average middle-aged man with high cholesterol and high blood pressure, who decides to treat his conditions with a "whole foods, plant-based diet" instead of the traditional drug regimens prescribed by doctors. He seeks to make the case that animal products are the cause of the Western world's health problems.
Early in the movie, we meet two doctors -- T. Colin Campbell and Caldwell Esselstyn -- both vivacious and fit septuagenerians who have separately researched the benefits of green diets are now working together as strong advocates for this lifestyle. We are introduced to several of their patients who are suffering from either heart disease, diabetes, or cancer and with the help of a plant-based diet see drastic remediation in their diseases.
The message is clear but unlike movies such as Super Size Me and Food Inc., the film Forks Over Knives presents the viewer with an overwhelming number of charts, quoted studies and doctor interviews that, along with some pretty grueling surgery room scenes, is more reminiscent of a medical school documentary than a commercial food education movie.
In the end, the message of the movie makes sense: Fast and "convenient" food isn't good for us, and adopting healthier nutritional habits will improve our health. However, taking the position of an extreme vegan diet in which food is pragmatic and merely fuel does not create a convert. No opposing view is provided, making the movie one-dimensional.
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To someone who loves food, the film's motto "eat to live" is counterintuitive. It does not satisfy our calling to enjoy the many wholesome and fresh dishes available to us, be they vegetables or meat.
Forks Over Knives is playing at Regal Cinemas South Beach.