DOCUMENTARY REVIEW: If 'A Place at the Table' Doesn't Make You Angry With Our Nation's Feeble War on Hunger, Nothing Will

Reviewed by David M. Kinchen
DOCUMENTARY REVIEW: If 'A Place at the Table' Doesn't Make You Angry With Our Nation's Feeble War on Hunger, Nothing Will

 On Feb. 4.  I reviewed the Participant Media book "A Place at the Table" (  
created to accompany the 84-minute documentary  "A Place At The Table."  Thanks to the always helpful Emily Lavelle at Public Affairs, I finally got to view the film in a download. Thanks also to Roya Daie at Participant Media in Beverly Hills, CA  for helping me with the password.

This is the documentary to see If  you only see one  documentary this year. You owe yourself a viewing (or two or three) of  "A Place At The Table." It's important If only to see how dysfunctional our government is when it comes to curing food insecurity, a new concept to me -- at least a new term for an age-old problem -- but one faced by tens of millions of Americans in rural areas and in the inner cities of our biggest metropolises.


The film  will be released March 1 in theaters (good luck with that! If you live in Huntington, WV, for instance,  the nearest theatrical showing is in Columbus, OH), on  iTunes and On Demand everywhere. I checked with,  where I learned that the DVD should be released soon.

One Nation. Underfed. And yet, we're the among the most obese people on the planet. A paradox that's explained easily enough: Junk food, processed food is cheaper for many people than healthy fruits and vegetables, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture isn't interested in subsidizing growers of fruits and vegetables the  way they are for corn and wheat farmers.


Every documentary has to have a featured celebrity and for "A Place at the Table" the producers have chosen wisely: The Dude Himself, Jeff Bridges. He does a great job -- we all can identify with The Dude from the film "The Big Lebowski."

Fifty million people in the U.S.—including one in four children—don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush examine the issue of hunger in America through the lens of three people struggling with food insecurity: Barbie, a single Philadelphia mother who grew up in poverty and is trying to provide a better life for her two kids; Rosie, a Colorado fifth-grader who often has to depend on friends and neighbors to feed her and has trouble concentrating in school; and Tremonica, a Mississippi second-grader whose asthma and health issues are exacerbated by the largely empty calories her hardworking mother can afford.

  Rosie's Colorado is not the wealthy ski resorts or prosperous (for some) Denver. It's in Mesa County, Plateau country, to the west of Denver. The nearest sizable city is Grand Junction. A particularly poignant segment portrays a law enforcement officer in the county who has to supplement his "protect and preserve" day job with a second one cleaning a school. He relies on food to feed his family from a food bank started by a clergyman -- a food bank that has grown to be big business in a nation of plenty. Why we aren't storming the barricades as they did in "Les Miserables" is beyond my comprehension!  
Ultimately, "A Place at the Table" shows us how hunger poses serious economic, social and cultural implications for our nation, and that it could be solved once and for all, if the American public decides – as they have in the past – that making healthy food available and affordable is in the best interest of us all.

 From the publicity dept. of Participant Media:
For "A Place at the Table", Participant Media will convene a consortium of leading nonprofit organizations, experts and companies working to relieve the immediate urgency of hunger, as well as those working to solve the tough, complex issues that contribute to food insecurity in America.  On March 1, the social action campaign will be launching a first-of-its-kind, national action center with the most important national and local actions from NGOs on the front lines of ending hunger in America.

In the meantime, we invite you to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. And on March 1, come back and Take Your Place in the fight to end hunger!

For screening and festival inquiries, please contact Sanaz Alesafar:

Mobile Source: Data sent via our mobile campaign is from Feeding America's Map the Meal Gap.

From   "A Place at the Table"
Jeff Bridges (Actor) | Format: DVD
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Actors: Jeff Bridges
Format: NTSC
Studio: Magnolia
ASIN: B00B119H1A
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