As a Netflix subscriber, and a Lilly Collins fan, I’ve been hearing about the new movie Okja for several months now, despite the fact that the film was just released on November 3rd (If you haven’t heard of it yet, watch the trailer here). I had heard that film promoted justice for animals, but all I knew about the actual plot of the film was that the main character was an animated elephant-pig-looking creature named Okja. With this, I was hesitant to watch the film because I don’t tend to watch many animated movies these days (unless it’s an action film ;), but I was pleasantly enraptured by this animated super-piglet’s story.
If you are vegan, this film will break your heart, but if you aren’t, it just might make you change your mind about consuming meat and/or dairy. Okja tells the story of an experimental animal–a genetically modified super-piglet–raised by a young girl named Mija. Mija was to raise this super-piglet for ten years, and at the end of those ten years, the Mirando Corporation (the creators of the super-piglets) were to take Okja back from Mija, with plans to experiment, breed, and slaughter the beloved animal. The main plot of the film focuses on Mija chasing after her super-piglet, in hopes that they can return to the life they had in the mountains of South Korea before this disruption.
The film seeks to illustrate the reality of the animal cruelty that occurs in the meat and dairy industry. Okja is taken to a farm, where we are shown images that include strange-looking super-piglets that have been genetically modified, a rape scene between Okja and a genetically modified male super-piglet, herds of super-piglets crammed into adverse conditions, and the slaughter of these super-piglets. After learning to love Okja, we, as the audience, are torn to see her experiencing these conditions–a feeling that we should experience when we learn that many animals in the meat and dairy industry are undergoing similar, dreadful experiences.
While Okja is an unusual film, it is worth taking two hours of your time to watch. As someone who was initially unsure about the film, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I fell in love with Okja and Mija’s relationship, as well as how much I longed to see the two reunited in the film. Likewise, on a side note, Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance as Dr. Johnny Wilcox is too hilarious and strange to miss. Whether or not you’re vegan, this film offers a concept worth exploring. Maybe you are not currently an advocate for animal rights, but if you give Okja a chance, you might reconsider.
The featured photo was taken by Joe Mbugua. Find more of his work at unsplash.com.