BEAUTIFUL TRUTH, THE - Blu-ray review

Caveat emptor really applies here, because your health is at stake. Do your research, do your homework, and use common sense.

James Plath's picture

Whether the Gerson therapy is "A Beautiful Truth" or a dangerous alternative health regimen depends on who you believe:

"The Gerson Therapy is a safe, natural treatment developed by Dr. Max Gerson in the 1920s that uses organic foods, juicing, coffee enemas, detoxification and natural supplements to activate the body's ability to heal itself. Over the past 60 years, thousands of people have used the Gerson Therapy to recover from so-called 'incurable' diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and arthritis." (from The Gerson Institute website)

"Available scientific evidence does not support claims that Gerson therapy is effective in treating cancer, and the principles behind it are not widely accepted by the medical community. It is not approved for use in the United States. Gerson therapy can be dangerous. Coffee enemas have been associated with serious infections, dehydration, constipation, colitis (inflammation of the colon), electrolyte imbalances, and even death." (from the American Cancer Society website)

"Despite proponets' claims of recovery rates as high as 70-90 percent, case reviews by the NCI [National Cancer Institute] and New York County Medical Society in 1947 found no evidence of the Gerson diet's benefit in cancer." (from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center)

Either you believe Gerson's "A Cancer Therapy: Results of 50 Cases" and the testimony of lifelong friend Albert Schweitzer (who says the therapy cured him of his diabetes), or you believe the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's warning that "none of these claims has been substantiated by scientific research" and that "this regimen has resulted in coma-inducing low levels of sodium."

And there you have it. "A Beautiful Truth" may be just what it says, or it may be only delusional thinking. This much is fact: Max Gerson was a German doctor who tried to cure his own migraines with a regimen based on the philosophy that the human body, if cleansed of all the toxins it absorbs in this poison-filled world of ours, could heal itself. He attributed his own cure to his dietary regimen, but of course it also could be something as simple as the power of belief. One problem with his 50 case studies is that there were no controls, and some of the patients had been undergoing treatments from the mainstream medical profession either before or during the Gerson therapy; another reason the medical establishment rejects the Gerson therapy is that the case studies are based solely on anecdotal evidence.

So either you're going to believe the Gerson disciples when they charge that the medical establishment grows fat and powerful because of the drug and cancer-cure industries, and that they have the same vested interest in debunking an alternative cure like this one as the oil industry has in nixing any carburetor that gets such super mileage that people would burn less gas (and cost the industry profits) . . . or else you're going to believe that the Gerson folks are just well-intentioned, paranoid quacks, like so many others.

I'll say this, though. Humankind--specifically profit-minded big corporations--have turned Planet Earth into Planet Shithole, with health hazards and toxins everywhere you turn, all unfortunate by-products of the "progress." So while some of the more radical methods may seem suspect, I fail to see the problem with such things as going vegan, eating only organic fruits and vegetables, and ingesting plenty of juices (well, except that list item will cause you to balloon in weight. When a guy is interviewed who says he's had a glass of homemade organic carrot and apple juice every day since he took it to cure himself, and he's healthy now, you have to think that if that's the only thing he did, what's so bad about that?

As for the films themselves, all three are made by Steve Kroschel, a legitimate wildlife documentary filmmaker who's obviously been converted to the Gerson Therapy. Why do I say that? Because he made all three films-"The Gerson Miracle" (2004), "Dying to Have Known" (2006), and "The Beautiful Truth" (2008), and each of them could pass for a long infomercial. There's testimony after testimony and plenty of product placement. It's like having Tom Cruise do a film about the Church of Scientology. A documentary should cover more of both sides than any of these three films manages. But I'll say this for Kroschel. Though he recycles a lot of the material, his beautiful truth is that he keeps getting better as a filmmaker. His son, Garrett, who handled the camerawork for the second film, steps in front of the camera as a "curious" home-schooled 15 year old. Of course, we never for a minute believe that it was his curiosity that was driving this around-the-world journey to talk to Gerson Therapy believers and scientists, but the method gives him the chance to move in the direction of a Michael Moore-style documentary--not necessarily two-sided, but at least more entertaining, with such stunts as the boy conducting a funeral for an almond, or him getting shut out of a building compound the way that Moore did when he tried to get into GM.

All three films are full of clips and segments that vary in quality, and each film gets a little sharper and clearer, with better overall production values, than the previous one. But no one is buying this for the video or audio experience. You want the information, and you don't want to strain your eyes getting it. The picture is very good for those purposes, presented in 1.33:1 aspect ratio.

Nothing fancy--just an English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and lots of dialogue. It's adequate.

The two additional films are the bonus features, really, but other than showing a filmmaker's journey I think there's too much overlapping for the bonus films to be of as much use as "The Beautiful Truth."

Bottom Line:
Caveat emptor really applies here, because your health is at stake. Do your research, do your homework, and use common sense. Trust your gut and err on the side of caution. And if you decide that the Gerson therapy might make more sense than anything else, or if you've exhausted all viable medical options, this Blu-ray gives enough testimonies to also give hope. I may start buying more organic food that I already do and combine carrots and apples, but as for the coffee enemas? Uh, I think I'll leave those for people who would enjoy them more than I would.


Film Value