“Forks Over Knives” is an extremely eye-opening experience that will indubitably encourage hesitation in the vast majority of carnivores the next time they cut into a juicy steak.
There is no doubt about the urgent significance of the message being relayed in “Forks Over Knives.” However, while the new documentary excels at educating its audience, it fails to entertain them, thereby limiting its potentially persuasive reach. Moreover, it gives new meaning to beating a… what is the plant-based equivalent of a dead horse?
“Forks Over Knives” begins with chronologically tracing the personal journeys of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a nutritional biochemist from Cornell University, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a former top surgeon at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic. Conducting several groundbreaking studies, their separate research leads them to the same startling conclusion.
Their discovery is that degenerative diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even several forms of cancer could almost always be prevented – and in many cases reversed – by adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet and rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods.
Bringing these scientific concepts to life, director Lee Fulkerson takes cameras into the homes of real patients who have treated chronic conditions and other ailments by merely adjusting the types of food they consume, giving new meaning to the Hippocrates quote, “Let food be thy medicine.”
Fulkerson throws more statistics at the audience than anyone can possibly digest in one sitting. And he solidifies their relevance via the true stories told during the latter half of the film. Yet, more specific examples of how this diet can alleviate day-to-day discomforts – in layman’s terms, not scientific mumbo-jumbo – is required to make the message more appealing to the masses.
Moreover, the unfortunate truth is that “Forks Over Knives” is a well-made motion picture – and an important one at that. But it lacks any entertainment value whatsoever and, as a result, misses its mark. After all, a spoonful of spoonful helps the medicine go down, as documentary filmmakers Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock would tell you.
As is, “Forks Over Knives” can essentially be called “That Vegan Movie,” with audiences who already subscribe to the healthier lifestyle being those who are most likely to see, enjoy and take away something from it. Needless to say, that does not do much for the rest of us, who are in desperate need of a little intervention.
Having said all that, keep the following food for thought in mind when deciding whether or not to see “Forks Over Knives:” Do you really need… scratch that… want a graphic reminder of how unhealthy you are? Chances are, if you are anything like me, seeing all of that fatty meat up on a larger-than-life screen is bound to make you salivate more than turn your stomach.
“Forks Over Knives” (PG – 96 minutes) is now playing exclusively at Harkins Camelview 5. Visit NCM.com for specific showtimes.
Listen to Joseph J. Airdo’s “Movie Maverick” radio segment, every Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. during “The Daily Blender with Jeffry O’Brien” on KBSZ – NBC 1260 AM and 96.1 FM.