I love me a good Vegan movie. The documentaries are superb and just keep coming. The choices for features, however, have been slim to none. We’ve seen the kid flicks from Bambi to Babe, Chicken Wars, and Charlotte’s Web, but the animals talked and nobody used the V-word. That’s why Vegans were over the moon back in 2007 when Year of the Dog premiered, a feature about an animal lover who was actually Vegan. Alas, the character was mentally unstable and committed a felony.

Ten years later, we were blessed with Okja, but the being saved from slaughter was a whimsical creature, appealing to be sure but not an actual animal. I was excited last fall when Bones and All, a coming-of-age horror flick based on the eponymous novel by Vegan Camille DeAngelis, was released. The Vegan message was subtle, although the author did hear from some movie-goers who realized that the story, featuring an oddly appealing pair of teen-age cannibals, had a Vegan message that prompted those viewers to change their diet and outlook.

And now there is a charming film that’s hip and funny and British (I like British), about a Vegan coffee bar owner, Jo, played by Kate Nash, and the devotion she and an engaging posse of employees have for animals, the planet, and coffee.

The “war” in Coffee Wars­ is the international barista competition where a cash-strapped Jo goes for
the gold, despite a rule that lattes must be made with cow’s milk­­. Billed “a movie for coffee lovers,” this movie is steeped in espresso, rather the way The Natural or Bull Durham were steeped in baseball. People love those classics who don’t know an ERA from an RBI. Similarly, Coffee Wars is a nonstop delight, whether you named your dog Venti or abstain from caffeine with Rastafarian fervor. (All that said, the latte art––Mona Lisa, in particular––did make coffee seem incredibly cool.)

But more to the point for our purposes: this quirky comedy makes Vegan seem  ordinary not ho-hum ordinary, but normal, natural, of-course-you’re-gonna-do-it ordinary. The barista protagonist isn’t a perfect person. Case in point: the movie opens with her yelling at a customer who asks for “regular” milk. Jo is deep in debt, her roots are woefully in need of a touchup, and at one point in the story, she has a shocking ethical lapse. And yet her being Vegan, based on a childhood promise she made to a cow on her parents’ dairy farm, is as natural and uncontrived as Clark Griswold’s affinity for Christmas or Forrest Gump’s ability to run. For me as a Vegan, that is the most stunning part of this edgy and well-acted film: in Coffee Wars, the Vegan thing is just a thing, a very laudable and reasonable thing––and one well worth looking into.

Streaming now on Amazon and iTunes, this movie is one to see with friends––non-Vegan friends. Make some popcorn and have a movie night, or do a cinematic coffee brunch with oat milk lattes and Vegan scones. Let the film run all the way through the credits where you’ll learn that the cow who shows up briefly in the film was rescued and is now at a sanctuary.

Watch the trailer here.

Stream full movie on Amazon…

Or GooglePlay

Or YouTube.

Victoria Moran is a tea drinker who can appreciate a Vegan mocha. She is the author of books including Main Street Vegan and Younger by the Day; founder and director of Main Street Vegan Academy, training Vegan Lifestyle Coaches and Educators since 2012; and a longtime yogi and devotee of ayurveda, veganized of course. Check out her author website, and stay tuned for info on her Vegan feature film now in development, Miss Liberty.

 

 

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