Directed by: Stephanie Soechtig.
Written by: Mark Monroe & Stephanie Soechtig.
It’s no secret that America – and the world – is getting fatter and fatter, and that obesity is the biggest health crisis facing us today. More and more people are obese – and are getting that way earlier in their lives. Things have gotten continuously worse over the past 30-40 years. The documentary Fed Up is an advocacy documentary for eating healthier, getting food companies to be more honest about the food they produce, and the government to take more action to help protect our children. There is nothing subtle about the documentary, nothing particularly artful, it doesn’t try to tell both sides, and it doesn’t really give any new information for those who have been paying attention. The problem however that the movie makes clear is that food companies spend millions of dollars to make it harder for the information people need to get out – and spend millions buying politicians to stop or amend any legislation enacted to help children eat better. First Lady Michelle Obama has tried in her various programs to get kids to eat healthier – but even her efforts are undermined by the companies who sponsor them – Coke, Pepsi and every other food producer who uses a lot of sugar in their processed foods. These are the same companies who somehow manage to convince Congress to recognize French Fries and pizza as vegetables for school lunches.
The film assembles a group of nutrition experts who explain why processed foods are so bad for us – mainly because of all the sugar – and why the lies of “reduced fat” or “lean” or other such phrases on packaging are just there for marketing purposes, and really are not much healthier than the regular ones. How this is just not an issue of self-control and exercise – but something much deeper, and darker in that it is a form of addiction – not unlike cigarettes. The documentary, apparently, did ask the food companies to participate in the film – but they declined. The movie does have some clips of various people who represent them – giving testimony to various government groups that would be laughable if it weren’t so sad (including the McDonald’s representative who says Ronald McDonald does not market junk to children – but educate them with fun).
I don’t really have much to say about Fed Up. It is an important documentary for people who have need education on the way food is processed, consumed and marketed. It isn’t a particularly good documentary – but that doesn’t seem like the purpose of director Stephanie Soechtig. She wants to educate more than anything else – and in that, she succeeds.