5 Vegan Documentaries and Films to Stream on Netflix Tonight
Whether you’re considering switching to a plant-based diet or you’ve just recently made the decision to go vegan, it’s easy to feel a little lost or stuck with all of the information that’s available out there. From endless advice articles online to stacks of books on the subject, how can you decide if and why it’s right for you? One easy way to ease yourself into veganism is to simply watch a movie or two.
Conveniently, Netflix has a nice selection of vegan-related films for you to stream right now from the comfort of your home. Depending on your motivation for pursuing this lifestyle change, you may find yourself more drawn to one movie over another, but there’s bound to be at least one that whets your appetite. Grab some popcorn, get cozy, and press play on one of these movies on Netflix—or keep them going for a mini-movie marathon—so you can get a better idea of what being vegan is all about.
1. Forks Over Knives
For those who: are curious about how diet affects disease management.
You should set aside: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Taking a close look at the idea of food as medicine, Forks Over Knives (directed by Lee Fulkerson) promotes eating a whole-food, plant-based diet as the solution for reversing certain chronic diseases. Much of the movie centers on the work of two scientists, nutritional biochemist Dr. T. Colin Campbell and physician Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. Using the fact that health issues like obesity and diabetes affect a significant portion of the country’s population, this documentary wants viewers to see that there’s a clear path toward a healthier tomorrow: leaving behind the consumption of animal products and processed foods.
2. What the Health
For those who: want to understand how diet relates to health and the healthcare industry.
You should set aside: 1 hour and 37 minutes
Co-directed by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, What the Health takes a look at how consuming animal products correlates to various health issues, such as diabetes and cancer. Taking things a step further, the investigative documentary explores how big industries (like food and pharmaceutical companies), as well as the government, might be invested in people eating meat and dairy. This approach is what gives the movie its sensational tagline: “The Health Film That Health Organizations Don't Want You To See.” Overall, What the Health is an invitation to reassess what you eat in light of alarming chronic diseases sweeping the country and the major players who are involved.
For those who: are interested in sustainability and environmental concerns.
You should set aside: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Cowspiracy also comes from the same director team behind What the Health (Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn). With this documentary though, the focus isn’t on the health implications of eating animal products, but the impact farming animals has on the environment. Touching on deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and other important environmental concerns, Cowspiracy argues the devastating extent of destruction caused by the animal agriculture industry. It also investigates what environmental organizations, such as Greenpeace and Sierra Club, might be sidestepping or trying to cover up about the issue and how we can create a more sustainable future.
4. The Game Changers
For those who: want to see veganism’s relation to human performance and strength.
You should set aside: 1 hour and 48 minutes
The Game Changers is the work of Louie Psihoyos, the director behind the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove, and it was an official selection at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Mainly following UFC fighter James Wilks’ journey of recovery, this film zeroes in on top athletes who have found benefits in plant-based eating. As a whole, it challenges the common misconception that consuming animal protein is needed to have elite physical performance. The film features a number of high-profile individuals, including one you’re sure to recognize: Arnold Schwarzenegger.
For those who: want to watch something that’s not a documentary.
You should set aside: 2 hours
Documentaries aren’t the only way to explore veganism through film. A Netflix original film and official selection of the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, Okja tells the story of young Mija’s fight to save her best friend Okja, a genetically modified super pig that was created by a powerful corporation to fight world hunger and given to her family to raise. The movie is a star-studded affair with a cast that includes Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal. It’s also important to note that it’s directed by Bong Joon-ho, who recently won multiple Academy Awards for his hit film Parasite. With its heartfelt story and harsh portrayal of the meat industry, Okja effectively incites a conversation on going vegan.