Fat Girl – Film review
(2001) – Catherine Breillat
Catherine Breillat is a French female director on a mission, that mission is to make films that pretty much feel like a sledge hammer to the face. That sledge hammer is a woman’s mind.
Anais is a 13 year old french girl that alot of women in america can relate to. She’s overweight, she hates herself and her family, she has no sense of fashion and does not even touch her hair. She speaks the harsh truth that others refuse to face. Her sister on the other hand is 15, shes thin, and dresses like a woman, she wears make up and believes in ideals of love and is quite stuck in the cycle that the majority of women who are not like Anais suffer.
The premise of this story is that Anais’ family is on vacation. Her sister and she go out of their vacation home and walk talking about sex. The fat girl says she wants to lose her virginity to a random guy so when she does meet someone she loves he cant brag about her like shes an object he’s acquired. Her sister says shes full of shit, not too long after the 15 year old skinny girl finds a man in his 20s, he swears he loves her to get in her pants, and she let him, first in the more painful area, then she “gives herself to him.” all while her fat sister watches. This leads to a shocking final 10 or so minutes
Breillat writes this film and probably her others in a very one sided way. Every character in it is the fat girl divided up into pieces. Anais’ hates herself and expresses by eating and distorting her figure, her sister equally hates herself and expresses it by giving up her body as if its not worth anything. Their mother hates herself for having being like the skinny girl, and the father hates himself because being like Anais’ has hardened him and made him rely on things like business. All men in this movie are evil except for Anai’s father who is simply oblivious (willingly at that). The film has a style of duality in it as well to “hammer on the message” We spent 2 hours seeing the skinny girl give herself to this deceiving older man, and 2 minutes of Anai’s demise to visualize how the skinny girl feels. This repeats itself during the film often where the skinny sister acts and the fat one creates the visual of how the act feels emotionally. That’s that sledgehammer i mentioned.
Now what is good about this and other Breillat films is the honest look into the complexities of how women feel. How some women grow up to hate themselves and hate men. How self worth to a woman is an infantile idea that becomes an illusion with age. Finally how the nature of sex in human society is disgusting, mainly because it revolves around manipulating and lying about a concept that is supposed to be pure and wonderful.
I cant say I agree but its hard to deny that seeing a Breillat film does expose some of the dark and secret thoughts that are responsible for the way a lot of women feel and act. Since it comes from a woman, women themselves tend to embrace her harsh and honest take on the on female dynamics.
I would only recomend this film to very few people, like the kind who have long attention spans and give a shit about the subject matter. That means 30% of women and about 1% of men. If you fall into that category im sure you know who you are.