Meghan O’Hara’s cancer documentary 'The C Word' bursts forth with ideas

Meghan O’Hara’s edifying cancer documentary “The C Word” is bursting forth with ideas, many of which are barely contained within the time constraints of the film. O’Hara deftly wrangles them all into a compelling argument that seeks to make prevention the ultimate in cancer treatments. While marshaling lawmakers, lobbyists, scientists and patients into a film that’s motivated by her own journey with cancer, “The C Word” also becomes a tribute to the work of scientist and writer David Servan-Schreiber, whose book “Anticancer” informs the backbone of O’Hara’s film.

O’Hara, a producer on Michael Moore’s Academy Award-nominated film “Sicko,” falls down the rabbit hole of cancer research after her own bout with breast cancer and discovers Servan-Schreiber’s work, which is built around the four pillars of nutrition, exercise, eliminating toxins and stress management. Preventive treatments aren't lucrative in a medical industry based around surgery and medication, and O'Hara does her own investigative digging into the web of medical, pharmaceutical, food industries and political systems incentivized to make us less healthy.

While the information presented might not come as news to many, the way that O’Hara synthesizes the massive volume of it into a personal story of herself and Servan-Schreiber, is immensely captivating and persuasive. Morgan Freeman’s-voice-over certainly doesn’t hurt in that regard either. “The C Word” is a trenchant film with a crucial message that bears repeating.


‘The C Word’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Town Center 5, Encino

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An earlier version of this review referred to Meghan O'Hara as the producer of "Bowling for Columbine," "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "Sicko." She was a producer only of "Sicko."
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