Those of you who watch movies regularly have probably noticed the emergence of vegetarian and vegan characters in film in the past few years. In most movies, the vegetarian is present for a moment, having one or two lines at the dinner table to let the family know that he or she doesn’t eat meat. But more and more veg characters are coming out of the background, occupying, if not a major role, a very strong one.
Unfortunately, in many cases, the vegetarian character is portrayed as a loopy “hippie” type, someone the rest of the characters roll their eyes at every time he or she brings out a tofu loaf. But I am still excited by the appearance of that vegetarian, hushing my husband so that I can hear the words “I don’t eat meat” come out of the character’s mouth.
In Year of the Dog, when Peter Sarsgaard’s character announced that he was vegan, I think I let out a loud “Yay!” It was the first time that I had ever heard a character in a movie use the word “vegan” to refer to his or her lifestyle, and it thrilled me to no end. I must admit that I am easily entertained, but I don’t think that I am alone in this simple pleasure. Sarsgaard’s character was a full-on animal rights activist, living a vegan lifestyle and embracing compassion for all beings. I loved that movie!
I asked some of my friends to help me compile a list of movies that feature one or more vegan/vegetarian characters, and the following is what we came up with:
1. In Year of the Dog, the characters played by Peter Sarsgaard and Molly Shannon are both strong supporters of animal rights.
4. In Seven Pounds, Woody Harrelson’s character is vegan, and Rosario Dawson plays a vegetarian who has a vegetarian dog.
5. In Twilight, Kristen Stewart plays Bella Swan, a vegetarian who really enjoys her veggie burgers. And don’t forget those vegetarian vampires!
6. Colin Beaven’s role in No Impact Man: The Documentary isn’t fictional like the others listed, but I am including it anyway—I was very glad to see that Colin and his wife decided to add vegetarianism to their list of environmentally friendly things to do.
7. Pieces of April features Katie Holmes as April Burns, the quintessential vegetarian trying to please her meat-eating family by cooking a turkey for their Thanksgiving dinner.
8. Albert Brooks plays vegetarian character John Henderson in the 1996 movie Mother. Some of the dialogue between Brooks’ character and his mother in the film reminded me of conversations that I’ve had with my own mother (she just didn’t get it!).
9. My Big Fat Greek Wedding features John Corbett as Ian Miller, a vegetarian.
10. The Simpsons Movie includes animal-friendly daughter Lisa Simpson.
11. In Jurassic Park, Lex Murphy (Ariana Richards) is vegetarian.
12. In RV, Joanna Levesque plays a vegetarian teenager, Cassie Munro.
13. Igby Goes Down includes the vegetarian character Sookie (Claire Danes).
14. Shark Tale features Jack Black as Lenny, a vegetarian shark.
15. In American Beauty, Wes Bentley’s character, Ricky Fitts, is a vegetarian.
I would love to hear about more movies that I may have forgotten to list. And leave a comment letting me know if you have a favorite movie with a vegetarian or vegan theme or character.
Who gets that veg Oscar!?