‘The True Cost’: Andrew Morgan’s devastating documentary on dark side of fashion

“The True Cost” is one of the most devastatingly moving films of the year. This riveting documentary exposes the underbelly of the clothing industry, including the shocking fact that it is the second biggest contributor to pollution following only oil production. Indeed, as Frank Scheck observed in his rave review for The Hollywood Reporter, the only way to watch it “without feeling hopelessly guilt-ridden is to be naked.” 

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“The True Cost” premiered at Cannes before an Oscar-qualifying limited release in New York and Los Angeles in May and a simultaneous premiere on Netflix. It is one of 124 documentary features in contention at this year’s Oscars. While the members of the documentary branch get screeners of all these films to winnow them down to five nominees, “The True Cost” producers also sent it out to the entire membership in mid-November. It will be this larger group that decides the winner of Best Documentary Feature. 

Funded by a $75,000 Kickstarter campaign, writer-director Andrew Morgan traveled to 13 countries to interview activists and sweatshop workers about the “fast fashion” trend which has driven down the costs of making clothes. Clothing is now regarded as a disposable good, popularized by major brands like H&M. The film exposes the deadly working conditions — in both the developing and developed worlds — and crushing environmental effects that have resulted from this shift. 

Buzz for “The True Cost” has been generated by screenings often accompanied by provocative panel discussions, such as the one at the Vancouver International Film Festival in September where this writer saw it.

On IMDb, the film rates 7.5, a score equal to that of the 2006 Oscar-winning “An Inconvenient Truth”. “The True Cost” was nominated for Best Documentary Film at the recent Environmental Media Awards but lost to 2014 Oscar nominee “Virunga.” 

Take a look at the trailer for “The True Cost” below. This is an important film with such universal implications that it deserves to be shown in schools alongside “An Inconvenient Truth” and 2013 Best Picture “12 Years a Slave”. 

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Photo Credit: Life Is My Movie Entertainment Company 

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