As the credits roll for Poverty, Inc., I just stare at the screen, stunned. I know this feeling. I've been here before.
Have you ever seen a documentary that makes you really dive into your belief system? I have. It was at Thin Line 2011 when we saw The Cove. At the time, my family had slowly transitioned our diet to pescatarian. When my husband and I left the theater, we calmly confirmed that we were done eating fish and stuck with it. A movie had that kind of power in our lives.
Now, four years later, I am hit by another one of those films. Poverty, Inc. is uncomfortable and intelligent and beautifully made. The argument is strong, and the topic is emotional. As a bleeding-heart resident of a comfortable life here in Denton, I want to help others. We give money to an organization to help those in need in foreign nations. We also purchase vegan TOMS shoes. But is our giving a handout or a help up?
This film makes me want to examine where my charitable contributions go. I see the importance of researching the institutions that we fund, but not because the film has me thinking all international charities are bad or corrupt. Perhaps the point is that while the old system indeed brings aid to a suffering group of poverty-stricken people, how can we do better? Is it more helpful to give or to teach? I want to know if our contributions help a person get shoes or a job or both.
Poverty, Inc. is full of intelligent people with convincing ideas at every socioeconomic level. So go, see this very important film, and work through the feelings that bubble up. As with any great documentary film, it will create the spark that can fuel positive change.
Poverty, Inc. is showing on February 20th at 3 p.m. in the Campus Theater.