Review of Carnage, a Vegan Comedy Directed by Simon Amstell

Review of Carnage, a Vegan Comedy Directed by Simon Amstell

Hey there modern vegans and vegan curious. It’s Margaret, and welcome back to ModVegan. Have you ever tried to imagine what a vegan
world would be like? Well that’s what Simon Amstell does in the
new film Carnage, which is available through the BBC
iPlayer. I recently had the privilege to sit down and
watch this film, and this is my review of it. I first heard about this film from one of
my Patreon supporters, Wendy from the Nomadic Vegan. And Wendy has a fantastic travel blog, all about traveling as a vegan, and she has a Patreon of her own, and I’ll include a link to her blog in the description box below so that you guys can check her out. But anyway, Wendy let me know about this film and asked me if I’d had a chance to see it. And I had not and I’m very glad that she told
me about it. Because I think it’s something that vegan
should see. We don’t get that many movies that are specifically
about veganism. And even more so, about vegan activism. And this one – it’s not just a film about
veganism. And it’s not your typical film about veganism, because it’s a comedy. And that is all too rare in this circle. We don’t often get to see a kind of a serious
comedy about veganism. And it’s a very funny film that kind of imagines what if we lived in a vegan world? And how would we get to a vegan world. So this isn’t even an alternate universe or
anything, it’s based off of our society today, and it imagines what would happen in the future if we were vegan. And one of the interesting things that the
film makers conclude, is that if we were to live in a vegan society
in 2067, which is where this film starts out, in 2067, if we were vegan then, how would we feel about
our past? And that’s probably something – if you are
already vegan, you’ve already had to answer that question. I know that I have. If you are vegan, you look back at your past and you’ll think to yourself, you know, how did I ever eat animals? How did I do that? And it’s something that’s fairly natural to
question if you are vegan yourself, but in this film, it’s intended for a vegan
and a non-vegan audience. And so, by placing this film in a world that’s
already vegan, they’re able to look at older people living
in this world in 2067, who grew up eating animals. And how they might feel about their past. And so, by looking at this film through the
lens of people living in 2067, the filmmakers are able to answer this question
in a different way. By having those people look back on their
past and think about the time when they thought
it was okay to eat animals. And it’s almost reminiscent of listening to
– maybe people who were racists as teenagers
in the 1960s look back on their young adult years with
shame, remembering the way that they had behaved
in the past. And that’s kind of what happens with the characters in this film. The film opens with a psychologist who specializes
in these issues. An older woman who did eat meat as a child. And drink milk. And the scene with her is absolutely hilarious. Dr. Yasmine Vondenburgen is one of the most
celebrated psychotherapists in the world. But now, she’s putting her reputation on the
line. By discussing the one thing we’d all rather
forget. In her taboo busting and deeply personal book, “The Guilt of Eating Your Brother”, Vondenburgen suggests that former carnists
like her are under threat from a new psychological
sickness. “It’s still difficult to say it out loud. I ate animals. I ate fish. I drank the milk from cows. From cows!” What’s funny is that if your a vegan, we kind of know what this feels like, because a lot of us feel exactly that way. So it’s not that foreign to feel that it was
a terrible thing that you did in the past. But for the non-vegan audience watching this
film, it may give them a different perspective. Because they’re being asked to look at this through the eyes of someone who has seen things
from the other side, so to speak. And it’s very well done, it’s quite amusing. There’s a scene that follows immediately afterward, where she’s leading a support group for people
who used to eat meat as young people, where they’re having to name the names of
cheeses that they used to eat when they were kids
and things like that. That it’s so traumatic that it took them weeks
to get to this point. It’s pretty funny. But it also points to a deeper truth. That this is something that if it were – if you are a vegan you probably already think
it’s wrong – but if it were wrong, you might feel pretty
bad about it later. Especially depending on what you know in the
future. And so, the way that the movie goes after
that opening scene, they kind of go back in time. And they examine the very beginnings of veganism back with the founding of the Vegan Society, and during the midst of rationing in World
War II and everything like that. And they have some – I especially suppose,
as a vegan, – these days whenever I see images of people
eating meat and stuff like that, it does kind of bother
me. And I think that’s one of the things that’s
kind of amusing in the film. Because, if you’re a meat-eater, you probably
will see these scenes and you’re not going to think twice about
them. But as the film goes on, it just becomes funnier
and funnier, and it’s just a very clever way of doing it. I know in an interview Simon Amstell told
an interviewer that one of the reasons he decided to make
this a comedy, was because too often, we take these things
far too seriously, and what happens – it’s not that we take it
too seriously, it’s just that, when you’re too preachy, often the meaning gets obscured. And there’s no chance for people to empathize
with you, or to even empathize with the animals before they’re kind of offended right away. So this is a very clever way of doing it, it’s a very good way of bringing people into
this idea, and helping them to see things from a different
perspective. And I really enjoyed that. In terms of this alternate future history
of veganism, they start out with vegan celebrities in 2017s. There’s this rise of vegan celebrities. And they even have this kind of animal rights
leader. And he’s initially a member of PETA. My favourite line in the entire film is when
he’s talking about how he wasn’t with PETA for very long, because it felt like all he ever did was “pretend
to die” and “be ignored”. So you know, at those protests where demonstrators
pretend that they’re dying or something like that. And yeah, it was very amusing. Because I think everyone knows – whether you love PETA or whether you hate
PETA, probably everyone has kind of observed that
about PETA and their demonstrations. So, I thought that was pretty funny, especially as a vegan that made me laugh. I think most vegans who watch the movie would
probably find that pretty amusing. But through this civil rights/animal rights-type
leader, they definitely cast him in a very admirable
light as kind of the leader of the movement and
everything. You kind of watch his journey, watch his struggle, and you see the change in people’s attitudes. But there are several things that really have
coincided in order to create this vegan world. It’s not just the protesters. It’s also the outbreak of a horrible disease that happens to affect lots of people where they realize the effect on their health
of eating animals. And it’s not immediate. This is something that takes 50 years from
our current day (because it’s set in 2067). This is a 50 year process. So it’s not something that happens terribly
quickly. And that’s very important. I think that sometimes, as animal rights activists
and advocates, and just as vegans, we definitely hope to see a vegan world tomorrow. You know, we all do. We know it’s not going to happen, but it’s
something that we hope for. So in the film, there’s all these things that
happen that might be pushing society more towards
veganism. But in the end, what makes society go vegan is being able to hear the thoughts of the
animals. And that’s what eventually makes people realize the horrible atrocities they have been committing
this entire time. And it kind of reminds me a bit of my own
children, watching this film. Because, in the future, children are embarrassed that their parents
ever ate meat. These people who did eat meat when they were
kids feel terrible about it and horribly guilty. And when I see my own children, it’s very
interesting. Because I’ve only been vegan for maybe a year
and a half, or so. But my children also have only been vegan
for around a year and a half. I would say vegetarian at least for a little
bit more, about a year and a half, and only vegan for
about a year or so. Or maybe a little bit less. And yet, it’s taken such a – it’s had such
a profound influence on them. Seeing my children and the way they go into
a restaurant. And they see people eating meat and it disturbs
them. I remember walking past a restaurant here
on Steven Avenue in Calgary, which is kind of a popular street that is kind of a pedestrian place in the
heart of the inner city. And there’s plenty of restaurants there. And I was walking there with my children one
day, and they saw a restaurant that’s in the Hudson
Bay building. And it’s a higher end restaurant. And I definitely will never be taking my children
there. They use meat kind of as a decoration. And my kids were horrified. They just saw it while we were walking by and I think my older daughter saw it in the
window, and she said, “mommy, why do they have dead
bodies on display? What’s wrong with them?” And the way that they see it is so much more
stark than the way I do. Or at least, the way that they express it is much more clear, and much more evident
than the way that I would. And it’s very meaningful, I think, that children would see things in this way. That they have this uncensored view of what
right and wrong are. Even at a grocery store the other day. Because often we’ll go to those health food
store type community grocery stores. And one of the things that my kids really
don’t like about those stores is how much meat is on display. And they simply can’t stand it. I was in one store the other day, yesterday,
in fact, with my daughter – with both my daughters. And my older one said “I don’t want to walk
in that part of the store, mom.” And even though that’s also where vegan protein
stuff is as well, she didn’t want to go in that part of the
store, because she was like “I don’t want to look
at dead bodies.” And, I’m like “I kind of get that. I understand why you might feel that way.” And so, I see how in this film, the idea of this future generation that just
sees this entirely differently – and they way they kind of judge the previous
generation – that’s fairly possible. And if, as time goes on – and I think it will
happen – when we have more children growing up with
a different view of the world – yeah, it’s likely that they’re not going to
think that well of us. And it’s certainly interesting to see my children’s
– just honesty about the things that they see. And their disappointment in the way that people
behave. And their questions about how people can do
the things that they do. I think it’s something that as you grow older, you sometimes – you get lulled into that. And it’s something that is mentioned in the
film. There was this idea, in the past( this is
the psychologist speaking) but she talked about how this was sold to
them as dinner, that they weren’t thinking about the slavery
and the murder and everything like that. That they were thinking about it as food. And that’s part of the problem, and I think this film illustrates that very
well. And it illustrates it humorously. And I just – I did enjoy it. It’s available here on YouTube right now. You can find a link to it. That link will probably be taken down, so I’ll just put a link – you can look for
it here on YouTube, and if you happen to be in the UK, look for it on the BBC iPlayer. And I’m sure it’s going to be available through
iTunes and stuff like that very soon. But it was a very entertaining film. My kudos to Simon Amstell for directing this
fantastic film. I really enjoyed it. There were some great performances in the
film, and it was quite a joy to watch. And I think it might be even for people who
aren’t vegan. Because it was rather amusing. Some of the images that they have of future
protest remind me quite a bit of some of the stuff that Direct Action Everywhere does, with the putting flowers in front of butcher
stops and things like that. And it’s interesting, because the film kind of shows that as if
it were the kind of new wave of activism. Which I think would be nice, because it’s something that I would like to
talk about in the future, but I’m very interested in
creative, non-violent vegan education and activism that relies less on shock so much, and more trying to help people to empathize
with the beings that we share this planet with. And I feel like there’s a great deal of value
in that, and I think that’s a large part of what this
film does. It just gives you an entirely different way
of looking at things. It shocks you, it makes you laugh, and it also causes you to empathize with animals perhaps in a way that you may not have before. So anyway, I strongly recommend it. It was a lot of fun, and so nice to see a vegan film, and especially a vegan comedy. It may be a first. If any of you know of another feature length
vegan comedy, let me know, because I’m not sure if I’ve
seen one. But this one was great, and I especially enjoyed all of the commentary
in it. Some of the commentary was very well written
and very clever – super enjoyable. So if you get the chance, do watch it. I want to thank you all so much for watching. I want to thank my Patreon supporters for
all of their continued support. And thank you just for watching, that’s a
wonderful form of support as well! If you enjoyed this video and you think someone
else would like to see that film, share this review and give it a thumbs up, because I always
love that. And let me know, if you have seen the film, what did you think of it? Did you enjoy it? Did it make you laugh? Did it make you cry? Did it make you do more than one of those
things? Please let me know. And subscribe to this channel so you can see more great videos like this
one, and I will see you in my next video. Take care. Bye.


53 thoughts on “Review of Carnage, a Vegan Comedy Directed by Simon Amstell”

  • 01000001 01001101 says:

    I'm going to have to watch this movie. I love satire. I grew up watching Benny Hill and All In The Family so I have a fondness for that type of humour.

    You're so right that most supermarkets have way too much meat on display. That's why I love buying stuff at the Asian market down the street from my house. They literally have a 2 foot long meat department (haha) that's barely stocked with anything.

  • Melissa Damitz says:

    "Carnage" is brilliant.

    Sometimes I feel as though I need a vegan group therapy session to cope with the guilt I feel about having eaten animal products 😉

    It's wonderful to hear about how veganism has had an effect on how your children view meat, even in such a short time. That gives me hope for the future 🙂

  • Elena Korchuganova says:

    i never heard about this movie. Now i am going to watch it, thank you! I actually been thinking about why there are no movies about vegans, why no one ever made it. Vegans are only mentioned in movies or shows in a derogatory way, promoting the prejudices.

  • Rebecca White says:

    It popped up in my suggestions along the side. I never heard of Simon Amstell before this and after watching this, I watched/listened to some interviews with him and some standup and I've become such a fan of his! He's the next generation of classic British comedy, I think, which I've always loved, and he's so lovable too. It's so subversive – while completely understanding what makes vegans look ridiculous to some people (eating our "brothers" for instance) while brilliantly bridging from that view to our view is just perfect, plus weaving in real and fake archive material is so skillfully done.

  • Nomadic Vegan says:

    Thanks so much for the shout out and for reviewing this film! I loved hearing you talk about your children's reactions to meat and meat-eaters. It's the younger generation that gives me hope for the future. I actually hate using words like "meat" and "animal products", because I see it as a way of commodifying animals. I wish I could refer to them as "dead bodies" and "bodily secretions", but I'm afraid that non-vegans will just tune me out if I start talking like that. It's a fine line we walk between making veganism appealing and accessible while at the same time speaking our own truth. I love it that kids can speak with no filter and just describe the world as they see it.

  • Such an interesting premise for a movie, really looking forward to watching it! I'm curious to hear how nonvegans react to it

  • Jude-a-licious ! says:

    I absolutely loved it !!!! I to want to approach my activism from a POV of getting ppl to empathise with the animals . I believe with Gary retiring it's the right time to move away from the violent language of rape , torture etc and keep educating and coming from compassion for our meat eater family, friends, community , world. They dot know yet that is all . They are not evil . They are ignorant !!!!!

  • Vegans doing comedy can so easily fall flat (see Vegan Gains or occasionally Mic the Vegan), but Carnage passes with flying colours. Simon Amstell is a legendary comedian in the UK so its lucky we've got him to work on films like these.
    I will say that some vegans will definitely take issue with the comedic tone of the film, and I do see where they're coming from – for instance the 'naming cheeses' scene could easily be seen as ridiculous and laugh-worthy by meat-eaters (which is the intention obv), but vegans are fighting for a future where those kind of support groups could very well exist. Amstell's framed that scene in a way that makes feeling guilty about eating cheese look laughable – is that appropriate?
    There are also a lot of scenes where Amstell mocks vegans, and while I defo think vegans need to be more self deprecating in general, perhaps some aspects are too serious to mock? (As with the cheese-eating scene)

    My point is a lot of Carnage succeeds at being funny for both vegans and people who mock vegans, and maybe that's not a good thing?

    (PS I really enjoyed the film and I think it could end up being very important sometime down the road, but I'm just trying to gauge how a meat-eater would react)

  • Roy Wessbecher says:

    Cool, a dark comedy about vegans! I'm like your kids, I can't go by the meat section. I actively avoid it. It brings out the misanthropy in me.

  • Daniel Nathanson says:

    Apart from maybe Amstell and one other person who he doesn't name (in his interview with mark kermode) all the cast and crew were consumers of animal products.

  • Jordan D Productionz says:

    i thought it was epic. your an absolutely amazing woman for rasing your kids vegan, don't they remember when they used to eat meat though? I'm almost a year and a half in too.

  • The Lost Lemurian says:

    I've heard so many people talking about this film! I've gotta see it! 🙂
    I remember as a kid I asked my mother how come her generation let the planet get so polluted, and her excuse was, "Well, we didn't know". But it didn't wash with me because I was like, "Well you know now, and none of you are doing anything to change your behaviour". (lol…I was a bit too smart for my own good). I feel like kids are going to ask carnists the same thing in 50 years. "You knew what happened to the animals. So why did you keep eating them?" A lot of people are going to try to make excuses and the kids just aren't going to buy it. 🙂

  • The mirror of the truth says:

    Pythagoras of Samos, ca. 530 B.C.was a. fruitarian vegan How mostly life on Barry's
    “As long as humans continue to be the ruthless destroyer of other beings, we will never know health or peace. For as long as people massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, those who sow the seed of murder and pain will never reap joy or love.”

  • I loved the movie! It was very funny but so real.
    What you've said about your children is exactly what I was thinking.
    My daughter has never wanted to eat meat and has been a vegetarian bordering on vegan all her life. I never wanted to force her and she's actually the reason that I've also become vegetarian (working towards veganism). Most people try to make me feel guilty about not giving her meat ("what? Not even fish? But fish is really healthy!). I'm so happy about this mocumentary because not only has it made me feel good about not forcing my child to eat meat, but it's also given me an extra nudge towards my own vegan goal.

  • toy gummy bear says:

    I was helping a lost lamb get back to its mum and I couldn't believe I ate a baby sheep before without even thinking about the fact that it's a baby

  • The thing I love most about Carnage is that it is not a Pureflix style production. Not intending to crap on Christians, but vegans make way better movies :p

  • I very much enjoyed the movie. It was so well done!!! Though some parts r amusing, I did not laugh at all. I even found out how to send Simon a message of gratitude for bringing this film to us. I'm thrilled it is free, so anyone can watch it. I thank the BBC for making the film available and stamping their name on it. I hope non-vegans are encouraged to see it because it is "fiction". But those of us who are vegan see it differently, hopeful even. At least I did. Thank you for doing a review of the film! And thank u for sharing your children's' reactions to non-vegan practices. I too have a problem when going to Whole Foods and seeing all the meat, dairy, egg, and fish products. I try to avoid this area but it is hard to do since there is a lot of it. I think vegans have a love/hate relationship with the chain. They sell so many things that u can't get at a grocery store and we are thankful for that, BUT… I am very happy that more vegan full length documentaries are coming out this year! But Carnage is definitely unique!

  • Simon Amstell has a dark sense of humour, which works perfectly with such a dark subject. He, and it, are brilliant. Especially the early footage of vegans – wonderful piss-take of himself! Oh, and the naked, peacefully dancing vegans 🙂

  • but it is okay to eat other animals. all animals eat other animals… birds eggs will be eaten by other creatures, fish will be swallowed by bigger fish, they all hunt and scavange for fuel. we are not separate from this cycle.

  • So genius, pretending it is amusing, so painful, but you courageously do it, to try to get people to see it , Litrally- The Carnage. knowing you are a minority, to me, you are amazing for that . You are so brave. Please be on Simon Amstell's board for 'allmammel rights'

  • My favourite parts were the ones about the terms vegans and carnists and the "monk you could fuck" haha. In general, I think this is a very good film. I would say that mostly non-vegans describe this film as a comedy through and through because they don't quite get that Simon is serious about the message. I can't say that this was a laugh-out loud film for me, the whole aesthetic and the idea is funny but mostly it made me feel hopeful because of its vision and sad whenever I remembered that this vision was not my reality (yet?). I don't know, maybe it's just a very intelligent comedy. It's a great film anyway.

  • the anemic, problematic vegan says:

    I agree, it is refreshing to see a movie about veganism that is based on humour. personally, the part i loved was the dairy cow musical, it is really strange and uneasy. you laugh at how cringy and over the top it is. yet as vegans, we know all too well that it speaks the truth

  • Thanks for the vid, I've never watched your vids but you were a related vid to an interview with Amstell. I'm glad I watched it though because it's great to see an outsider view of Carnage. Not outsider in terms of veganism of course but in terms of British comedy. I'm a vegan Brit and so I wasn't sure how Carnage would go over outside of the UK, I'm glad it hits the same comedic buttons over there that it does here! Thanks for the vid.

  • i just watched Carnage yesterday. Very surprised it was put out by BBC! Thought it was quite well done & I really appreciate that it was doing something different. I can't really imagine a lot of meat eaters sitting all the way through it to be honest, despite it being a comedy, but it's cool to see a vegan-centered film!

  • I loved it. It made me laugh and almost cry, the bit where he plays a clip of some guy who'd bought a sheep, and the sheep ran away and he was really upset :,( I thought it was brilliant though!

  • I thought it was a great mockumentary, I hope it becomes reality, well at least the vegan part. Your children are very compassionate and having a great and ingenious mother helps. They make me proud and I don't even know them. 🙂

  • leopard prints says:

    Hey Margaret. PLEASE review this movie! It's on Netflix.
    "A young girl named Mija risks everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend — a massive animal named Okja"


    ‘Okja’: How One Visit to a Slaughterhouse Turned (the director) Bong Joon Ho Into a Vegan

  • mikush sapieha says:

    Love you inspiring videos. But your room looks so empty and sad. If you need some decorating tips let me know : )

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