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Hot Docs 2015 Review: Sugar Coated

For a film looking at the deceits of the sugar industry and the evils of that sweet substance, Sugar Coated is a bit too cute and easily palatable.

This Canadian film by Michèle Hozer likes to keep things simple, playing coy and observational when it wants, while seeming to selectively pull punches and jump in at others. While the information showcased is interested, it is neither new nor put together in a coherent form, though certainly has some charming and savvy people speak to it.

That the sugar industry has operated like the tobacco industry, using advertising and the most talented PR people to divert attention and cast doubt upon science isn’t particularly new (Merchants of Doubt did that as recently as last year). And that high sugar consumption cause a myriad of preventable healthy problems isn’t either- Fed Up tackled this.

So enters Sugar Coated, not quite comprehensive enough to be jarring or specific enough to be relatable. Instead, it walks a middle ground that makes it attractive on the surface but empty underneath. Interviewed are a series of anti-sugar heavyweights, scientists who have come to be spokesman for their cause, but the film also tries to make connections with real people who learned that harsh way that sugar was bad.

These connections are tenuous and need better story telling mechanisms to make everything cohere; instead it feels like there simply isn’t enough material to command an hour and a half doc about a highly important mater.

[star v = 2]

Anthony Marcusa

A pop-culture consumer, Anthony seeks out what is important in entertainment and mocks what is not. Inspired by history, Anthony writes with the hope that someone, somewhere, might be affected.