Writer-director Steve Kroschel’s documentary preaches (and preaches and preaches) the gospel of Dr. Max Gerson, who developed a dietary regimen in the 1920s that advocated organic juices, vegetarian meals, and coffee enemas as a way to boost the body’s immune system. Despite evidence that the treatment helped cure cancer by ridding patients of the chemicals contained in processed foods, the Gerson Therapy continues to be dismissed by pharmaceutical companies and vilified by the American Cancer Society. With that in mind, you might expect The Beautiful Truth to be a David-versus-Goliath exposé on how corporations stand in the way of individual health in pursuit of the almighty dollar, but that’s merely scratching the surface of this condescending, manipulative film. Kroschel organizes his argument around Garrett, a home-schooled 15-year-old whose studies about the Gerson Therapy provoke him to investigate its validity. Actually, it’s Kroschel who seems to be provoking the investigation, using Garrett as a passive prop to push Gerson’s agenda—the nearly mute kid spends most of the film getting talked at by cancer survivors and scientists who tell him how evil the mainstream medical community is. Kroschel positions The Beautiful Truth as a sort of instructional video for young people on the merits of eating healthy, but its creepy messianic vibe is far more toxic than all the pollutants in all the processed food you could ever consume.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 12, 2008