January 27, 2015

Movie Review: Food, Inc.

Last night, I sat my parents down and made them watch Food, inc. with me.
To be honest, I'd much rather watch (ahem, well re-watch for the 1000th time) an episode of Friends, but I do have a genuine interest in nutrition, environmental sustainability, and social justice, so I watched it. And I'm so glad I did.

I don't want to give away the entire movie, but it basically started off by discussing the growth of the fast food industry. From there, we witnessed the cruelties of major chicken conglomerates, learned about the changes in the food industry from the 20th century to now, heard testimonies from actual farmers who are a) opposed to the power-wielding corporations and operate their farms independently or b) are incarcerated by the wealthy food industry barons and are practically enslaved by their policies, were saddened by the gut wrenching story about a mother and her son, were horrified by the images of baby chicks being thrown into machines to be stamped, were enraged by the deportation of struggling immigrants who were taken advantage of, and were encouraged to do something about the deliberate veil (e-v-i-l --> v-e-i-l) that the food industry has placed between our knowledge about our food and the reality of their origins.

I think that the purpose of this film was to bring awareness and explain the complexities of this issue: our food does not solely impact the agricultural industry; food is extremely connected to health, politics, law, the economy, human welfare, and social injustice. 

I have investigated a lot about our food industry by reading articles online, but you can only get so much understanding from words. The images of brown, barren landscapes hit me hard. I knew that many cows were fed grains and were cramped in tiny areas, but visually seeing cows packed hide to hide (skin to skin), crying out, hurt. Hearing the testimonies of the farmers was eye opening too ---  there's this whole stereotype that farmers aren't intelligent like a professor, but you'd be surprised by how eloquently these farmers spoke. I'm talking SAT level vocab in their explanations, and it did not sound scripted whatsoever. Hearing and seeing these farmers made me have SO MUCH more respect for farmers.

Being able to put faces to struggles and visually seeing these sufferings of people, not only animals, made these issues much more real. This documentary interviewed a family who had to struggle over wanting to be healthy and wanting to feed their kids: this little girl wanted apples, but her sister said they were too expensive. The whole concept of being able to feed your kid and fill them up for a substantial amount of time with one McDonald's hamburger for $1 versus a whole head of broccoli costing $1.29+ really put the skewed, messed up food industry that runs our country into perspective. 

Honestly, the purpose of this film was not to trump one diet over another. The objective was to bring the realities of the food industry to the public eye, and I think they did a phenomenal job. Over the last year, I've really been trying to be more critical of the information that has been handed to me, because people are biased and I want to formulate an opinion on my own. However, I honestly couldn't find anything blatantly wrong about this documentary. Sure, it was filmed seven years ago, so it might be a little outdated in terms of scientific data, but everything else can't really be skewed. Human injustice? How can I possibly support that by saying that they depicted the scene inaccurately?! These immigrants, whether they're illegal or not, were practically enslaved by these food conglomerates. And you know what? The government knew about this. I was astonished by how many Monsanto leaders eventually became high-level government officials. 

Anyways, I highly recommend that everyone watch this film. It really opens people's eyes, and I think my parents finally understood why I'm so passionate about agriculture & environmental sustainability. Like Arthur Miller when he wrote his play The Crucible, I think that the director, Robert Kenner, successfully got a very important message across to the viewers through entertainment. He told stories and grabbed our attentions through a movie, and was able to get his point across. I've seen several movies in the past, but watching this movie was one of my most well spent 1.5 hours in my life, and I genuinely mean that. 

Lastly, I'm going to leave you all with this image from the movie. I've known since I was 11 that hormones are injected into chickens, but I didn't recognize the physiological and anatomical detriments to the chicken. While I knew that these hormones could be transmitted to humans and were harmful to our health, these chickens can barely walk because they're carrying around all this unnatural weight. 
Honestly, these animals, plants, humans, are all God's creations. 
Why on earth do humans find it necessary to fix God's work? 

Watch Food, Inc. Please. 

xoxo, han


  1. I really hope that this movie gets out to a lot of the population, as it's very hard to ignore what's going on after seeing it.

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