The new documentary "Hungry For Change" covers a familiar topic, but repackages the information in a nice user-friendly way. In all honesty, I have now seen about a dozen different films that challenge the status quo and seek to enlighten the masses about the destructive nature of careless eating. But despite what seems like a patently obvious message, we (as consumers) still choose to look the other way. As a society, we have branded convenience as more important than health and big business has taken advantage of this decision in some pretty nefarious ways. But like many, while I realize my faults, I still perpetuate the problem in my own lifestyle. In truth, "Hungry for Change" really doesn't present anything I haven't seen before--but I guess a caustic reminder is appropriate every once in a while! And if you have never given your food choices much thought, I'd definitely say this is worth a look.
There are a lot of topics covered in this brief ninety minute presentation. For me, the film starts on incredibly strong ground as it deals directly with concerns of diet and nutrition. The section on dieting is both amusing and disturbing, and the criticisms presented about food manufacturers, distributors, and regulators hit the target mercilessly. Just the facts about so-called fat-free products should be shown to every household in the world that thinks it's making smarter choices! Sugar, of course, takes an expected (and warranted) beating by the experts. We even see Jamie Oliver (flavored milk's biggest opponent) at the 2010 TED conference. But if you follow this educational movement, you'll recognize many of this movie's participants (it is by the makers of Food Matters).
The movie strays a bit from its central themes with discussions on skin products and there's even an endorsement for positive visualization. It's as if the makers wanted to stuff so much material into the movie, it started to lose a bit of impact for me. There is also an ongoing, but manufactured, dramatic arc that I found completely unnecessary. Like a cheesy educational film, we watch a fictional woman at various points throughout the movie as she morphs from a shy frump to a confident woman. It's a corny bit of filmmaking that detracted from the movie's essential themes. But still, these are small gripes. The important message in "Hungry for Change" should be seen and heard. But at 4 stars, I'm judging the movie and not the primary message. Beyond the movie itself, the DVD boasts almost a couple more hours of additional footage and interviews. KGHarris, 10/12.