Forks Over Knives: Yet Another Vegan Manifesto

Looking to documentaries to learn how to live could easily become a life-consuming occupation in itself. I’m waiting on the documentary about watching too many documentaries; it’s killing us, if you haven’t heard. Though in the cautionary-doc mold, the opening of Forks Over Knives hardly whets the polemical appetite: “Food,” we are told, is “central to our lives and traditions.” Director Lee Fulkerson is just figuring out a couple of things, the second of them being that pounding Red Bull and sugary soda in late middle age is a bad idea. Beyond the film’s awkward reliance on stock footage and explanations of basic biology is an interesting overview of the work of two men, scientist Colin Campbell and surgeon Caldwell Esselstyn, whose studies have long concluded that heart disease—but also diabetes and cancer—is a “toothless paper tiger that need not exist.” Animal proteins are presented as villainous across the board, and Fulkerson is joined by two others in his reverse–Super Size Me quest to use diet to lower blood pressure, sugar, and cholesterol. Some of the data is less convincing than Fulkerson would have us believe, but nothing trumps the clear eyes and shiny coats of a trio of newly minted vegans.