On June 28th, a movie called Okja was released on Netflix. It tells the story of a young girl and her animal friend, Okja, a (CGI) super-pig that was created with the intention of producing a revolution in animal agriculture. The girl, Mija, grew up with Okja and, when Okja is taken away so that the company that made her can reveal its product to the world (and subsequently slaughter her), Mija goes on a mission to save her friend. There’s a lot more to it, of course, but I don’t want to give too much away.
I am no movie critic, but I highly recommend Okja. The CGI may not always be the best and, to be honest, the movie is a little weird, but that’s part of what makes it good. It has a strange combination of humor and darkness that really works with its message. What message, you ask? I’ll be straight with you here; the film plainly portrays animal agriculture negatively.
There are quite a few documentaries out there that shed light on the ethical, environmental, and health implications of animal agriculture, but I haven’t hear of many movies about any of these things. While I’m all for watching documentaries in order to educate oneself, I’m pleased that the conversation has expanded into fiction. A fictional movie can have realistic elements, of course (and this one certainly does), but its goal is to tell you a story. People get invested in stories, and because of this I think they sometimes have a more profound effect than documentaries. At the very least they are a good entry point before diving into the more factual elements of any learning process. I don’t know many people who wouldn’t become at least semi-attached to a cute little girl and her equally cute, friendly pet, so I think that this movie is quite successful in its goal.
If you have a Netflix account and a free night anytime soon, please watch Okja. Take the feelings it produces in you and question them. If you feel angry or sad, ask yourself why. And then do something about it.