Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that the documentary A Place at the Table addresses difficult and mature issues revolving around hunger in the United States. By visiting different "food desert" communities -- the urban streets of Philadelphia, a rural town in Colorado, a backroads hamlet in Mississippi -- and interviewing not just experts but also the families who live on extremely limited incomes or access to food, the filmmakers capture the pervasive problem of food insecurity. There's no violence, swearing, drinking, or sex, but very young children won't understand the discussion -- and kids who are sensitive to others' misfortune may find the subject matter worrying/upsetting. The movie argues that hunger should be a nonpartisan priority, simultaneously positing that certain pro-"agribusiness" politicians oppose more social spending to combat hunger.
No violence, but the issue of hunger -- particularly how it affects children -- is upsetting and will likely worry children who are prone to fretting about global issues.
The takeaway is that combating hunger needs to happen on the policy level, not just through charitable institutions. There's a clear call to action: to ask politicians to commit to ensuring that no child goes hungry, particularly since there's no shortage of food in the United States. The specialists explain how poverty and obesity go hand in hand and how you can be obese and malnourished (a doctor calls the phenomenon "stuffed and starved"). Experts also reveal how living with food insecurity means that the food you can afford tends to be processed and bad for you. All of these messages could spur viewers to take action, volunteer their time, write a letter to their elected officials, and most of all, show compassion for the epidemic of food insecurity.
Some discount processed food brands are shown or mentioned, as are supermarkets (and their logos) like Piggly Wiggly. But the intent is not to promote those brands but to demonstrate why it's a shame that they're all that low-income families can afford.
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