There are only a handful of must-see movies for and about vegans. “Forks Over Knives,” “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead,” and “Food, Inc.” are three of my personal favorites and probably the ones I recommend most often. “Forks Over Knives” and “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” were two movies I watched very early in my vegan journey that really convinced me to go vegan. “Vegucated” should have been part of that early list.
Take a young vegan filmmaker, Marisa Miller Wolfson, and provide her a podium where she hand-selects three omnivore New Yorkers willing to go vegan for six weeks. Enter Tesla, Brian, and Ellen.
How do you go vegan? Cold tofurkey, that’s how.
From the outset, you begin to doubt whether any of these three will be able to commit to the six weeks of veganism. Known meat and cheese lovers, I related with all three of them since I went vegan overnight. Early in the film, as they learn more about the health benefits and, ultimately, the cruelty inflicted on animals, they soon realize how much they’ve personally contributed to the meat, dairy, and egg industries. In the film, Wolfson takes them from some well-known New York City vegan restaurants to vegetarian Summerfest (where she captures some great dialogue with both T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Milton Mills) with stops along the way to area farms to get a true understanding of what happens to farm animals when they are subjected to rape, torture and murder.
A turning-point moment for Brian occurs when they happen upon three pigs that were literally thrown away. Providing a moment in the film where he and Tesla share the outright anger associated with knowing how animals are actually treated.
They are given a hard lesson the hard way. They are being vegucated.
Even with all the graphic displays of animal torture depicted in the film, one of the most moving moments in the film was when Tesla, a 22-year-old college student, admitted to Wolfson and two others that she didn’t think she would stay vegan after the six weeks — in spite of all she witnessed. Many of her feelings were the same feelings I had in the early days of going vegan and I related to her emotions and I thought she was very courageous. By the end of the movie, it is revealed who is going to commit to the lifestyle and who isn’t, as we get to catch up with the three at their final vegan dinner together.
As an independent filmmaker myself, I think Wolfson did an excellent job of piecing the film together and many of her points are many of the same points I publish on this blog. The one major flaw in the film for me is actually during the ending sequence when she tags some of the people in the film as being “mostly vegan.” By now, you know that I am firm in my stance that there is no such thing as any “part” vegan. It’s all or nothing.
Other than this point, I would recommend this film as I recommended Victoria Moran’s book “Main Street Vegan.” The perfect watch for the vegetarian on the fence or the vegan-curious omnivore.
“Vegucated” can be seen streaming on Netflix or you can buy or download it from the Vegucated website.