A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Despite emphasizing the gloom and doom of our country's dependence on a select group of multi-national corporations that monopolize our food industry, the documentary ultimately has a hopeful message: Pay attention to the food you eat, buy locally grown food, support independent farmers, make more meals as a family, and eat less (much, much less) at fast-food restaurants.
Violence & Scariness
Disturbing scenes of a crowded chicken house and cattle factory, and even more disturbing scenes of various slaughterhouses that "process" chickens, pigs, and cows into poultry, pork, and beef. In one scene, a more traditional farmer and his workers slit the throats of chickens, but it's quick and not as gruesome as the slaughterhouse segments.
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Nothing too alarming besides "stupid" and "damn."
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Products & Purchases
Several multi-national food corporations are discussed at length: Monsanto, Perdue, Smithfield, Tyson, ConAgra, and BPI in particular, as well as fast-food chains like McDonald's and Burger King and supermarkets like Walmart.Â
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Food, Inc. is a hard-hitting exposé on the food industry, especially the elite group of powerful corporations behind most of the food on supermarket counters. Most teens may not be interested, even though the documentary is rated PG and educational. There are a few disturbing scenes, mostly involving over-crowded chicken/pig/cow "factory farms" and slaughterhouses. It's worth noting that none of the featured companies agreed to be interviewed for the film, which does end up making the message seem somewhat one-sided. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It's a good thing that most theater concession stands don't sell cheeseburgers and chicken fingers, or audiences would want to hurl them -- in either sense -- after seeing this movie. Kenner provides a comprehensive look at how food goes from "seed to supermarket" and how the driving force isn't so much feeding the world but filling the corporate coffers of a select group of controlling companies. Anyone who's read either Pollan's or Schlosser's work (and their influence as producers/consultants is obviously influential) may know a lot of the material, but the vast majority of Americans are in the dark, which seems to be how some in the food industry would prefer it (not that any of the companies agreed to be interviewed for the film).
Food, Inc. offers plenty of horror stories: how big companies are keeping farmers down, how animals are treated cruelly so we can have bigger boneless chicken breasts and fast-food dollar menus, and even how the USDA seems to care more about the companies it's supposed to regulate than the population it's supposed to protect. The segments showing the animals can be terrifying, and the one about the working-class family that eats fast food because it's so much cheaper than healthier options is heartbreaking. But surprisingly, the overall message of the documentary is one of hope -- how every dollar we spend on food makes a difference, not just to our immediate families, but to the world.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.