Few will dispute that the United States is a country obsessed with beauty. It is an obsession that has led to increasing numbers of women undergoing plastic surgery, kids dieting as early as age five and more and more women (and increasingly men) suffering from eating disorders. Darryl Roberts’ America the Beautiful digs deep below the surface to expose the true effects of a culture that places perfection and profits over people.

Roberts first examines the media, speaking to advertising, magazine staff and photographers about how profits drive the industry to seek perfection at any cost. He also follows Gerren Taylor, a girl who at age 12 seemed ready for massive stardom as the next big supermodel. Over the next two years, we see how industry pressure can affect a maturing young woman.

Roberts then goes after the cosmetics industry and plastic surgeons, exposing that any M.D. can call themselves a plastic surgeon and few, even those on popular TV shows, are board certified. The fact that the FDA has banned less than 20 dangerous materials from use in cosmetics, whereas the European Union has found over 400 unfit, will have ladies thinking twice about their lip gloss.

Some interviews could have been cut down or cut out altogether. Also, I’m disappointed that information on eating disorder prevention runs during the credits when most folks will be filing out of the theater. Regardless, America the Beautiful is a film that provokes serious thought about the legacy that we want to leave to future generations of young women.

Grade: B+

America the Beautiful releases in select theaters Aug. 22.