Forks Over Knives (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes

Forks Over Knives (2011)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Documentary filmmaker Lee Fulkerson explores the possibility that so-called "diseases of affluence," such as heart disease, can be reversed by simply adjusting our diets to include less processed and animal-based foods. Back in the 1960s, Cornell University nutritional scientist Dr. T. Colin Campbell was working to find a way to feed the citizens of impoverished Third World nations when a trip to the Philippines forever changed the way he thought about food consumption. There, he discovered that the rates of liver cancer among affluent children who subsisted on diets rich in animal-based foods were notably higher than in children consuming plant-based diets. Meanwhile, surgeon Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, head of the Breast Cancer Task Force at Cleveland Clinic, was also discovering that many of the diseases he was seeing in patients were practically nonexistent in areas of the world where people were primarily consuming plant foods. Several subsequent investigations by the researchers (who would not meet each other until the 1980s), including a groundbreaking study in China by Dr. Campbell, led them to the revelation that a whole-food, plant-based diet could prevent, and even reverse, such degenerative conditions as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer. In this film, Fulkerson examines Dr. Campbell's and Dr. Esselstyn's theories by following the two doctors' individual, yet very similar, story arcs, from their farm-based upbringings to their astounding discoveries. The film also records the experiences of a group of patients suffering from chronic maladies as they participate in an experiment in which their diets are substantially altered and wholesome, plant-based food is, essentially, used as medicine. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovimore
Rating: PG (for some thematic elements and incidental smoking)
Genre: Documentary, Sports & Fitness, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Lee Fulkerson
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 30, 2011
Box Office: $1.0M
Monica Beach Enterprises - Official Site

News & Interviews for Forks Over Knives

Critic Reviews for Forks Over Knives

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (20)

Forks Over Knives is a middling documentary but a magnificent indictment.

Full Review… | May 20, 2011
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Forks over Knives is tasty but somewhat undercooked.

Full Review… | May 20, 2011
Detroit News
Top Critic

Movies are like food. There are popcorn pictures that entertain you and the spinach movies that are good for you. In more ways than one, Forks Over Knives is a spinach flick.

Full Review… | May 19, 2011
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

A persuasive documentary on the health benefits of a whole-foods and plant-based diet.

Full Review… | May 19, 2011
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

As it stands, "Forks" is an interesting and informative health lecture that's sandwiched into a dry, repetitive documentary.

Full Review… | May 13, 2011
Washington Post
Top Critic

The radical notion at the heart of the acclaimed doc "Forks Over Knives" is that eating animals and animal-produced foods has costs -- on our economy, our health-care system and on ourselves.

Full Review… | May 13, 2011
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Forks Over Knives


Is the problem meat and dairy or is it processed foods and refined sugars? This movie says both and they need to be completely removed from our diet (its experts also say nuts and oils as well), but its focus is on meat and dairy. The main evidence for their case is a book written by one of the film's experts, called "The China Study." Disappointingly, it doesn't explore the supposed science or results of the study. Why not support this extreme position with peer-reviewed science articles -- or do they all contradict the film-maker's views? Also, to not seriously look at the effects of processed foods with at least equal depth is incomplete and dishonest. Anecdotally, the movie makes a good, albeit obvious case for the benefits in eating whole foods, but the honest man would have also followed someone who included meat and dairy in their whole food diet. I agree with the less-extreme, modern consensus: Eat unprocessed food and make meat and dairy a side rather than a main dish.

Matthew Slaven
Matthew Slaven

Super Reviewer


This documentary can be a life-saver for so many of us. Let's face it most of follow a slow-but-sure suicide regimen of processed foods with lots of meat and dairy thrown in (oh don't forget the sugar!) Though dry at times with lots of statistics, Forks Over Knives is a must see. It truly is a revelation. One stat that reverberates...US health care costs could be reduced up to 80% if we changes to a whole food/plant base diet...did you hear that Congress! (5-16-11)

John C

Super Reviewer


When there are reports that an average person in America is twenty-three pounds overweight; that one in five American children are considered to be obese; and that cancers, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, hypertension, and chronic heart conditions can be solved simply by switching to a whole foods, plant-based diet, one cannot help but pay attention. And yet although "Forks Over Knives," directed by Lee Fulkerson, means well, some of the studies presented tend to leave a lot of pertinent questions unanswered. In addition, it makes careless assumptions based on supposed hard evidence.

Its approach mainly consists of presenting medical doctors and scientists who have made and are making an impact in supporting the diet that consists strictly of whole foods and plants. While these professionals on screen are impressive, the picture neglects to provide a counterpoint-medical doctors and scientists who do not support the diet. By having only people who agree on the same thing, the interviews end up quite repetitive and dull.

I found some of the charts to be troubling in presentation. Some of the animated diagrams are quite beautiful. A standout involves "stretch" and "density" receptors on the stomach which is meant to explain on a very elementary level, appropriate given the target audience, how we get the feeling of satiation. Another is the "cancer atlas" of China which involves a massive study that focuses on eating habits and cancer.

But when it summons bar and line graphs coupled with a voice explaining what the bars and the lines mean, one ought to look or listen more closely. For instance, at one point it brings up the average amount of sugar, dairy, processed foods, and the like that are consumed by a typical person. However, one bar depicts, for example, data that is gathered in 2006 and another bar on the same chart is supposed to be data acquired in 1999. Assumptions are made based on these graphs-that are not even based on the same year. The lack of consistency leaves room for significant misrepresentation.

Supporters of the vegan diet traverse dangerous grounds when they make claims that simply eating whole foods and vegetables can reverse even the worst chronic and degenerative diseases. While they have some data that seem to support their claims, making very general statements is misleading. The truth is their data can only support-not prove-some of their claims on some of the diseases. For instance, there has not been a study of every type of cancer based on the whole food, plant-based diet. Cancer goes through remission even if one is not on the diet in consideration. The picture does not even discern between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

What do I believe in? I believe in moderation, being in control of your body and your choices, and choosing to live a physically and mentally active lifestyle. In order words, I believe in eating steak and having a slice (or two) of chocolate cake and then choosing to go to the gym to burn it off after a couple of hours or the next day.

What I do not believe in is a panacea. An approach that works for you may not work for me. "Take this pill and you'll get better" or "Go on this diet and you'll get better." The difference is scant.

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