I Am an Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

I Am an Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA Reviews

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May 17, 2011
I am a vegetarian, I am mostly vegan. After the film, I still think Ingrid & many at Peta are absolutely out of this world insane, but I do admire the compassion underneath it.
It is sad that Peta finds it ok to exploit people (such as women, even willing) as props, yet they fight adamantly against the same treatment of animals.
Objectification of animals AND people need to BOTH end.
I am for basic animal and human rights, but of different means I guess, & hopefully a good end.
July 29, 2009
Great documentary. I have mixed feelings about Ingrid though.
June 16, 2009
"I Am an Animal" is a portrait of British-born founder of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Ingrid Newkirk, combining interviews with Newkirk herself and her supporters and detractors with reports on the day-to-day workings of PETA, from covert operations to the organisation of media events. The portrait as a whole is sympathetic (Newkirk herself endorses the film), though the more controversial elements of Newkirk's action are not glossed over. Several references are made to her testament, calling for her meat to be barbecued and her skin to be used as leather, and she does confess to her approval of the terrorist methods of the Animal Liberation Front, though she denies financially supporting them.

As a vegan Catholic and a conservative (a rare breed indeed, judging by my totally unsuccessful Facebook group), I have mixed opinions about Newkirk (I was about to say mixed feelings, but I realise I like her very much.) She is an atheist- because of the problem of evil, which I find to be the least unreasonable motive for denying the existence of God, though it is a bad reason anyway- and favours euthanasia for sick animals, which I am not sure is much better for them than it is for humans. However, I am not sure I would criticise either her methods or her temperament. In fact, I was surprised by the level-headedness and the professionalism of PETA as shown in the documentary (all the more so as the movie poster makes Newkirk look like a raving maniac, which she isn't.) You don't get the impression that they are a bunch of agitated leftists, fueled by a pathological anger and a completely distorted view of facts, and prone to use counterproductive strategies because they are deluded about the way the world works. On the contrary, I was impressed by their ability to prioritize, their efficiency, and the obvious compassion that motivates them. In fact, I am not sure that, being confronted to the same kind of horrors and bad faith that they encounter everyday, I would be able to maintain such composure.

One example of Newkirk's sense of priorities is her decision not to obsess over a rather marginal case of a man mistreating big cats in a squalid breeding plant and to focus instead on the annual slaughter of turkeys for Thanksgiving. It takes guts to challenge the majority of meat-eaters by defending an animal they despise and routinely kill rather than make a fuss about some convenient, isolated scapegoat which makes everybody feel good by comparison.

My only problem with the documentary is that it enables several people from various animal welfare organisations to criticise Newkirk's methods, but it does not give us any information as to what their methods are and how effective they are compared to hers. I personally understand the rationale for Newkirk's stunts. As she says herself, we live in an age of sound bites when most people will not listen to an extended argument and you have to come up with very short, simple and striking messages. The fault is not with PETA, but with the debased intelligence of our media and of the audience they generate. As for the Jewish ADL's contention that the parallels between animal exploitation and the Shoah "trivialise the Holocaust", well, it all depends on how trivial you think the ongoing annual slaughter of billions of sentient creatures is.

Newkirk herself has a few reservations about the film, but they are minor. For instance, the HBO crew missed a few opportunities, such as documenting her 24 hours in jail after the Jean-Paul Gaultier stunt (for which they used washable paint, which the documentary does not say.) So it seems that the only thing wrong with the film is that it is simply too short.

As with most documentaries on the animal problem, "I Am an Animal" does show quite a few very disturbing images of animals being abused. I must confess I closed my eyes once or twice, as words and abstractions are enough to convince and motivate me, and it may take me weeks to recover from such gruesome images (which is what happened with the twenty minutes or so of "Earthlings" I have so far been able to watch.) But if that's what you need to start caring and go vegan, I suggest you leave your eyes open.
January 20, 2009
solid documentry and changes the viewpoints most people have of peta based off of media attention and some copy cats who don't know what they are protesting about, i don't agree with a pig is a dog is a boy because i don't believe that we are animals that is another discussion, but i haven't eaten poultry or ham, beef etc for two plus years and don't plan on ever going back because of the very things peta is fighting for animal cruelty is real and people need to wake up and stop pretending everything is fine and especially that most kids don't even know that the food they eat is the same farm animals they love and enjoy, i highly recommend this one it is an eye opener and well executed.
January 16, 2009
People who've seen the naked protests or the attention-grabbing magazine ads--or those who stumbled onto one of many Web-based campaigns on animal abuse--know People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, but do they know the people behind PETA? "I Am an Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA" takes you behind the scenes of the most recognizable--and controversial--animal rights organization. Watch as PETA plants a man in a slaughterhouse (who later recalls animal rape and torture); Newkirk, the organization's president, saves a malnourished dog from its owner, sets it up in one of PETA's posh animal suites (complete with toys and background music) and puts it to sleep; and both PETA and its detractors speak out on the organization. Most fascinating, however, are all things Newkirk. Here's a woman who was married to a man whom she said posed no problems, but whom she divorced only because the marriage was obstructing her work with animals (that is, she hadn't the time for him); this is a woman who recalls, as a child, wanting to severely wound a man who mistreated a dog; she's someone who, in her will, wants to be barbecued (literally) and have her skin used to make fashion accessories, so that people can see (as she tells it) that we are animals, too. (Her explanation of that is reason enough to watch this HBO documentary.)
½ January 12, 2009
Alarming footage and a person who seems sincere, albeit a little nonsensical at times, about treating animals with dignity made the feature compelling. My problem with Ingrid is that she doesn't always seem capable of treating people the same way, which strikes an element of hypocrisy to the title of this feature. Still, this film has made me re-think a lot of my eating habits--forcing me to consider the source and method of what I consume.
November 10, 2008
PETA's ideology is openly discussed by supporters and detractors. While many of their actions are worldwide criticized, there is one thing I can't deny: they've brought so much awareness about the cruelty of the treatment of animals all around the world. Even though I don't agree with them in everything I hope their voice never vanishes.
August 7, 2008
I thought this was a real eyeopener. While I dont agree with all of PETA's actions, I think sometimes people need the shock of a pie in the face......
It is horrible how animals are treated in this day and age, and someone needs to do something about it. At least these people at PETA have to strength to do something to help those without a voice!
June 19, 2008
This documentary showed that PETA is even more of a screwed up organization than I'd realized.
June 19, 2008
This documentary showed that PETA is even more of a screwed up organization than I'd realized.
June 4, 2008
I think Ingrid Newkirk is absolutely batshit insane and that PETA does more harm than good, and I like that this documentary reaffirms my feelings. At the same time, though, I feel like a PETA supporter would see the same things and feel like it reaffirmed their feelings. There's even some more incriminating things regarding the organization that the filmmakers decided to not include, which I think was in an effort to make the whole thing more fair, and I think it worked.
May 26, 2008
I Like this movie because it shows WHERE ur meat comes from and it makes me more proud of myself for being a vegetarian. Animals shouldnt be treated like this a all!
May 11, 2008
Great documentary! A note to those who think it is a documentary only glorifying PETA, there is criticism of the organization in there. Views from all sides!
½ May 8, 2008
This movie made me very angery with PETA. They give other animal support groups a bad reb, organizations like the Humane Society and The SPCA. Ingrid Newkirk comes off as a very angery person who only sees problems in the world and no solutions. Also she is a media whore. My advice is that maybe if you offer solutions you wouldn't have to shock people into looking at you. In away she is as sick as the people who preform the sort of cruel acts she tries to prevent. The people who abuse animals are pathetic weaklings who only abuse animals for a sense of power and control. She draws attention to them with shock tactics, so that she can have power and be in control.
½ May 2, 2008
Pretty good and interesting doc...but I still hate PETA.
April 28, 2008
Wow I'm the fourth person on Facebook to review this. I saw it on TV a few weeks back. While it was quite PETA-centric it was still enjoyable to watch. There was a little info alluding to PETA being extreme but they didn't really get into it. Watching this though has helped me understand PETA a bit more and recognize where they are coming from. Some of it seems a bit silly but Ingrid herself says they have needed to step it up in recent years otherwise no one takes notice. She would rather not resort to crazy tactics but has no other choice. Usually to most they seem like extremists but the things they are fighting in the documentary seem pretty rational.
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