ONE OF THE JOYS, if not the reason, for going to the movies is popcorn, but a new movie may have you thinking twice about munching while watching.

"A Place at the Table," which opens nationally Friday (see story and review on Pages 29 and 30) is a powerful look at a problem that should not exist in this country: hunger.

The documentary is notable, and not just for the human stories it tells of working and unemployed families who struggle to get enough food to feed their families. The filmmakers highlight three locations - Mississippi, Colorado, and Philadelphia - to underscore that hunger is not just a rural or urban problem, but affects the entire country. And with 50 million Americans "food- insecure," meaning they don't know where their next meal will come from, the impact on health, education and community is staggering.

The film does a good job of explaining the political forces that have exacerbated a problem that we were closer to solving decades ago than we are now. Of note is the project of Mariana Chilton, of Drexel University's School of Public Health, who broke ground when she created the "Witnesses to Hunger" program that allowed Philadelphia women to document their own struggles with trying to feed their families. One of those women is the star of this movie. "A Place at the Table" can be downloaded on iTunes and is available on demand; the film also offers tips for taking action.