America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments

Movie review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments Movie Poster Image
Insightful docu explores U.S. obsession with weight loss.
  • NR
  • 2011
  • 150 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The film sends the message that people can be healthy at a wide range of weights, shapes, and sizes and posits that the idea of weight loss comes from an obsession with thinness rather than better health. It also raises questions about the relationship between government health guidelines and contradictory regulations about the ingredients that foods contain.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Roberts raises some important questions, but he isn't always unbiased in his approach.


The bullying of overweight boys is briefly discussed. The death of a newborn baby is also mentioned. Images of surgical procedures.


Erectile dysfunction is briefly discussed. References to losing weight and getting more dates. Roberts is partially shown in his underwear and without a shirt; models are shown in skimpy clothing.


Language is mild overall, but the word "bullsh--t" is heard once.


The movie looks at various brand-name diet programs, including Dr. Shapiro's Picture Perfect Weight Loss 30-Day Plan, and raw food establishments like Cousin's Incredible Vitality in Chicago. References to Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig. Logos for Apple computers, KFC, McDonald's, Cheetos, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Nike, Marlboro cigarettes, Slim Fast, and other products are visible. Discussions of all of these products and services are offered within context of the movie's theme.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol is visible but not consumed on camera. Cigarette smoking is visible; its relationship to weight loss and stress is discussed.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this documentary, which looks at America's obsession with dieting and thinness, examines how the medical establishment, government agencies, and the diet industry promote unrealistic ideas about obesity, as well as the relationship between weight and health. There's less strong language than in the first movie, but you will see images of women in skimpy clothing and hear references to sexual problems. Commercial logos and products are prominent, but they're appropriate within the film's context. Sensitive viewers may find the brief scenes of surgical procedures and discussions about the death of a newborn and bullying a little boy disturbing. Parents, this is a good movie to watch alongside your teen; check out some of our tips about how to talk to them about the issues the movie deals with.

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What's the story?

AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL 2: THE THIN COMMANDMENTS, the follow-up to director Darryl Roberts' America the Beautiful, examines the American obsession with weight loss and dieting. Roberts explores the debates surrounding the ways that Americans define obesity, as well as the way that the government, the medical establishment, and the weight loss industry determine who's obese and how to help them. The various connections that society is making between health and weight are also discussed, as are the physical and emotional problems resulting from the assumption that the two issues are always related.

Is it any good?

The documentary takes a humorous and insightful look into various debates about what constitutes obesity and how to measure it. It's also openly critical of the medical establishment and government agencies, which the movie accuses of relying on both faulty data and social stigmas about size to make determinations about the relationship between fat and health. Adding to the controversy is the amount of money that the diet industry is making as a result of America's obsession with weight loss.

The film's theme isn't particularly original, but its featured conversations with young boys and women who are struggling with various eating and exercise disorders show how important it is to keep talking about these issues. Meanwhile, the interviews with people who choose to live healthy, active, and happy lives while being at a weight that doctors and government agencies deem as inappropriate are inspiring. Throughout it all, the movie consistently sends the message that it's important to make some basic lifestyle decisions -- like making good food choices and exercising -- to live a healthier life, regardless of your size.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about dieting. Do people go on diets to be healthy, or is it to look better? Do you think dieting is an effective way of accomplishing either goal? What are the positive and negative consequences of going on a diet?

  • What messages does the media send us about the impact that diets have on our bodies and our lives? Does the media impact the way that girls look at their bodies and weight loss the same way that it does boys?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love being healthy

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