Marion’s Favorites: Bad Vegan (Netflix Documentary)

by | Jul 25, 2022 | Marion's Favorites, Movie Reviews, Wisdom From Kammbia Column | 0 comments

There have been very few television shows that kept you speechless while watching it. I could think of seeing the twin towers in NYC destroyed on 9/11, the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion, and the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles as events I’ve seen on television that left me without words.  Those were major societal events that have shaped American culture in the past thirty years.  Well, I will have to add a Netflix documentary (on a much smaller scale culturally) to that unheralded list.

Bad Vegan is a four-part documentary that tells the rise and fall of vegan restaurateur Sarma Melngailis. In the early 2000s, Sarma owned Pure Food and Wine restaurant that attracted celebrities and healthy eating foodies from around the world.  A few years later, she met Anthony Strangis, a con-man that made her believe that her beloved dog, Leon, would become immortal and it would lead her to giving him nearly 2 million dollars, costing her everything.

I watched the first two episodes early last week and finished the remaining episodes over the weekend.  I have seen no television show that stunned me like those aformentioned events. Sarma’s life unraveled after she married Anthony and believed in the world he was going to give her. The saddest parts of the documentary was when her employees walked out of their jobs twice for not receiving their paychecks and how Anthony swindled Sarma’s mother out of 400k.

On the surface, it would be easy from my comfortable position to judge Sarma harshly.  But as she told her version of the story in this documentary and my disbelief turned into compassion.  However, I believed the prison time she served for her role was deserved and she needed to be held accountable for how she abandoned those loyal employees.

Bad Vegan is a story of manipulation, deceit, and how someone cannot separate fantasy from reality.  Also, it shows the dark side of the imagination and how it can wreck a life. I’m still speechless as I write these words.  It is not the best documentary I have ever seen, but it’s one I will never forget.  If you are looking for something to watch as we get through the dog days of summer, then I will recommend Bad Vegan.  I believe it will leave you speechless, too.


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