The Experiment Movie Review (In Detail)

Spoilers Alert:

Over-management, factory farming, deforestation – just three of countless problems that are increasingly preventing us from being able to go to the supermarket blindly. The trend is towards seasonal and regional fruit and vegetable consumption, avoiding meat and animal products and providing precise information about the origin of the food. But can this really save the planet in the long run? Kurt Langbein and Andrea Ernst take part in their documentary EAT DIFFERENTLY – THE EXPERIMENT ( de. Anders essen – Das Experiment) take a closer look at the topic of nutrition.

Shared meal with regional products with the Allain family.

That’s what it’s about

For the first time in Europe, scientists have succeeded in calculating how much area is actually needed for our eating habits. The result: Each of us needs a field measuring 4,400 square meters to eat – a small football field. Two thirds of this field is located abroad – and two thirds are not used for direct consumption, but for animal feeding. If everyone ate like this, we would need two earths – a person in the world only has 2,200 square meters available. The film shows the consequences in the global south and on the world’s oceans. And: our food causes as much greenhouse gases as car traffic. Three families show through self-experimentation that there is another way: They want to reduce their land consumption and eat more fairly and in a more environmentally friendly way. Cook differently, with less meat. Eat differently, with more joy. Shop differently, regionally and seasonally. Will it succeed?


Three families, one goal: change your own diet so that our planet and its finite resources don’t end up suffering again. The authors and directors Kurt Langbein and Andrea Ernst filmed the Kovacs, Richter and Allain families over several weeks, first taking a close look at their habits and then accompanying them as they adjusted to an environmentally conscious diet. The question that arises is whether and to what extent avoiding meat or cooking exclusively with organic food can really change the status quo. From overfishing, factory farming or CO2 emissions. How individual can environmental protection be when it comes to nutrition? Isn’t it enough to just eat meat on the weekend? Or do we all have to become vegetarians so that the Blue Planet’s resources can recover? There are many questions to which “Eating Differently – The Experiment” offers remarkably simple answers.

We need the largest proportion of the area for animal feed, which in turn is used for our meat and dairy product consumption.

The filmmakers do not offer a universal solution. But that is not possible with such a complex topic. Instead, they provide the viewer with three families as identification figures whose attempts to rethink their eating habits for the sake of the environment can provide individual inspiration. For example, there is the Kovacs family: Gabor Vajda and Nikolette Kovacs have two sons, Marton and Abris. The four live in Austria and ready meals are often served at home. After a long day at work, things have to happen quickly; both in the kitchen and in the supermarket. But when she tries to buy palm oil-free, Nikolette reaches her limits. The Richter family is completely different, with parents Martin and Claudia and their children Jonas, Lisa and Moritz. The eldest Lisa has recently become a vegetarian, the others (still) find it strange. But wouldn’t giving up meat also help the earth? It’s completely different in France, where Eric and Delphine Allain live with their children Myriam, Marc, Colline and Luc. For them, a hearty dinner is a must; not only for eating, but also for a cozy get-together. And because they are aware of the current nutritional crisis, the Allains have been thinking about reducing their meat consumption for a long time…

The basic constellation of a family with several children is always the same. But each protagonist family highlights different problems and topics. As part of the convenience food-loving Kovacs, we take a trip to a frozen pizza factory. Using the Allains, the filmmakers show the awareness with which the French enjoy their food, while the Richters primarily focus on factory farming and meat processing. It feels a bit like an XXL edition of the ProSieben science program Galileo; Langbein and Ernst show the different dimensions of nutritional problems in such a varied and clear way. And right in the middle, an example field is used to illustrate how much of which grain, vegetables, etc. flows into which production stage, showing how even small changes can influence this distribution. A food consumption excursion on screen, so to speak.

The fact that those responsible forego the warning finger pointing and instead prefer to communicate with the audience at eye level makes it easier to access the material. Ultimately, of course, the topic concerns everyone, but not everyone is in a position – both in terms of time and money – to buy expensive meat, only cook with organic food or strive for comparable changes. But just becoming aware of problems can help you stop just shoveling cheap food into your shopping cart and instead start consciously dealing with your own diet. The best example of this is the purchase of the Kovacs family, who are supposed to explicitly avoid palm oil – and discover that the oil, for which huge areas of jungle are regularly cleared, is in pretty much every product (and not just in nut nougat). cream). This is much more subtle than just showing pictures of fattening pigs crammed together in stables again, although of course these pictures are also quite annoying.

Conclusion: “Eating Differently – The Experiment” perhaps doesn’t quite live up to its title, as it’s not necessarily about watching families undergo a nutritional experiment. Instead, it’s about taking a closer look at diets in general and enriching them with knowledge of the background to their origins and the like. As such a film, the 84-minute documentary is more than successful.

“Eating Differently – The Experiment” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from February 27th.

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