Eating Animals, a documentary about the state of industrial farming in America, is slated to hit theaters across the country next month. The film is inspired by Jonathan Safran Foer’s 2009 book of the same name, which explores the ethics of consuming animals in an era when much of the meat that people buy comes from factory farms. The novelist is a producer on the film along with his celebrity pal Natalie Portman, who also narrates the documentary.
A new trailer for the doc, directed by Christopher Quinn, features some spooky shots of massive chicken coops, as well as more pastoral footage of farmers trying to raise their animals in a more humane fashion. “There’s no way you can love an animal that has been genetically engineered to die in six weeks,” one of the farmers says in the clip. In an on-screen blurb, Alice Waters calls the film “an urgent, and mandatory, lesson.” The legendary proprietor of Chez Panisse helped promote the film at the Telluride Film Festival last fall.
The early buzz around the movie is pretty great so far. “It presents a very honest and objective look at the debate over eating meat, but also discusses how we can sustainably raise animals and not use factories,” writes Alex Billington of FirstShowing. The Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Farber calls it “an effective piece of agitprop suffused with sadness over the decline of a rich part of the American heritage.” And Deadline’s Pete Hammond notes that Eating Animals is “powerful stuff that opens our eyes to the horrific conditions and poisonous atmosphere for all the living things that go into making food, a cautionary tale indeed.”
Based on initial reports, it sounds like fans of the book can expect a slightly different experience watching the movie. “I was actually really thrilled about all the ways it departed from the book,” Safran Foer told Deadline at the Telluride Film Festival last fall. “It covered a lot of things I wish I had known about when I wrote it. Also a moving image can capture somebody’s heart in a way that is different, not better or worse, than the way that a book can.”
Eating Animals opens in theaters nationwide on June 15.