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Fat Girl

Fat Girl (2001)

October. 12,2001
| Drama

Anaïs is twelve and bears the weight of the world on her shoulders. She watches her older sister, Elena, whom she both loves and hates. Elena is fifteen and devilishly beautiful. Neither more futile, nor more stupid than her younger sister, she cannot understand that she is merely an object of desire. And, as such, she can only be taken. Or had. Indeed, this is the subject: a girl's loss of virginity. And, that summer, it opens a door to tragedy.


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To begin with: I love artistic movies. Even slow ones. Subtle ones. So when I say, that this movie was for me painful and boring to watch, it's not at all because I dislike the pace itself. No, this movie was painfully boring because of how DULL it in reality is. I spent my time asking my self what the actual point to this was. The movie lacks any original thought or vision. The romance is dull, boring, poorly presented and over-sexualized. The relationship between the sisters (which is probably supposed to be the main focus of this film) is dull, boring, and forcefully pathological. The characters are incoherent and there is virtually no character development. The movie tries hard to be controversial and provocative, but for me it came out as forced and annoying. The ending just nailed this impression.Not worth seeing. (Who thought that 20 minutes of driving on the highway, with no interesting interactions between the characters at all, would be a good thing to put into a movie? I mean: What the hell?)


Devastating portrait of heterosexuality in a mess. A holiday romance between an beautiful virgin and a bland seducer is anatomised to show every twist and turn of the manipulations involved when a boy tries to get his dick inside a Romantically-inclined girl. The relationship begs many questions, not least why heterosexual sex needs to be conducted under the cloud of subterfuge. All of this is witnessed by the girl's overweight younger sister, a heretic against society's body fascism who carries not just excess body fat but a cynicism about men and relationships which belies her age to a frightening degree.The long central sex scene in the sisters' shared bedroom is painful and authentic, with a morbid humour. The adults in the film - a workaholic bourgeois father, his neurotic wife and the blowzy Italian mama of the boy who indulges in over-dramatic posturing, suggest that the troubled teens have little but hypocrisy and pathology to look forwards to in adulthood.At the end of the film, something truly shocking and horrible happens, after a long and hair-raising driving sequence as terrifying as anything in Duel. The ending is contentious and a deliberate non-sequitur. It seems to be suggesting that the truth about male/female sexuality is a murderous fury from the male end combined with a retreat into self-protective emotional catatonia in the female. A film which has been a social comedy-drama turns into a transgressive fantasy, and the effect leaves a very nasty taste in the mouth, not least because some of the possible readings involve the younger girl both willing and needing the event to happen in order to liberate her from the prison of her family and the oppressive beauty of her sister.


I have just seen "A Ma Soeur", and all I can say is it's a pretentious piece if garbage. What is it about French film directors that makes critics and film buffs alike salivate at the mouth when discussing what are , essentially, in the main, arrogant, self-indulgent works of pseudo-intellectual nonsense? You can throw Pedro Almoldovar into that category as well. He is yet another European "auteur" whose films grate to the point where I want to throw a brick at the screen. All of this solipsistic home-spun philosophizing gimmickry is nothing more than a case of the "Emperor's New Clothes".In the case of "A Ma Soeur", the denouement is totally incongruous and non-sequitir with the rest of the film; completely out of sync with the main corpus of the piece. For the most part, we are watching a sleazy Italian student attempting to deflower an attractive teenage girl while her younger overweight sister looks on. This, in itself evoked a sense of "ennui" in me. For the gratuitous sake of sensationalism, a few controversial love scenes are added to the mix, but hey, this IS a French film, so it is all for the sake of "Art" and "Artistic Endeavour" The ending is so ridiculous and over the top that it bears no resemblance to the themes and motifs of the rest of the film. If a Hollywood director made a piece of garbage like this, he would have been rightly lambasted but, because this is a French film, it is regarded by the pseudo-intellectual cognoscenti as "challenging" and "uncompromising".The denouement reminded me of those excellent films, "The Player" and "Adaptation", where Altman and Kaufman/Jonze respectively take the unmerciful p**s out of overblown, sensationalist Hollywood films, which start out in one direction but take a completely different route for the sake of increased cinema audiences and publicity; except "A Ma Soeur" continued to take itself seriously right up to the silly unbelievable,ridiculous ending.


Fat Girl opens with a scene depicting the sister Anais, 13, and Elena, 15, walking to town from their vacation how to get a drink. At first it appears as a seemingly innocent scene until their conversation is overheard. Of course, the topic is sex. While this topic is nothing new for teenagers going through the difficult years of puberty, what strikes the viewer is that the conversation goes far beyond mere curiosity. Elena, slim and pretty, has already engaged in a number of amorous activities besides actual penetration and Anais, overweight, plain, and deadpan, while still a virgin, is convinced that she wants her first sexual encounter to be with someone that she does not love so that she will be "broken in" for the man that she will one day love. This conversation devolves until Elena challenges Anais to see who can get a boy first.Arriving at a small outdoor café, an Italian university student invites to Anais and Elena to sit at his table with him. Anais is quick to sit beside the student, whose name is Fernando, but is ordered to stand by Elena. Fernando assures the girls that it is perfectly alright to sit with him and Elena quickly takes the seat next to him and soon, after ordering some refreshments and making small talk the two are kissing. Because of her beauty and character, Elena's parents made a rule that Anais must be with her at all times away from the vacation home, but Elena is quick to abandon her sister for a short getaway with her new boyfriend.Later in the film, after sharing a meal with Elena and Anais and their parents, Fernando sneaks into the vacation home and puts the move on Elena and she is more than willing to do anything for Fernando outside of intercourse. On this point, Fernando's demeanor changes and he tries to convince Elena to give herself to him as a "proof of love" because if she does not he will have to go off and find another woman which he does not want to do because he "loves" her. To appease Fernando, Elena consents to another route of intimacy which leaves her feeling ashamed, but Fernando assures her that it was "beautiful and "a proof of her love" for him. During this entire process, Anais has been watching the young couple. She was not spying on them per se because the activities were taking place within the bedroom that she shares with her sister. More mature than her amorously inclined but naïve older sister, Anais can see that things are leading to disaster.Always a controversial director because of her filmic depictions of sexuality that borderline on the pornographic, some would say dive right into the pornographic, Breillat delved into new ground and faced even more controversy because of its depictions of underage sexuality. However, the sexual acts depicted in the film are not meant to titillate but to make the viewer feel uncomfortable, because it is one of the few films that reflect the suffering of a young girl who has been suckered by a man she "loves," she is already talking to Fernando about getting married which he fully supports to reach his "goal," and the damaging effects that it has. Also, the film does a wonderful job depicting children who grow up too quickly and the highly uncomfortable situations that it can create. The scenes depicting the drive home are almost exhausting because of the high sense of tension that they create.While I cannot recommend Fat Girl to everyone, I can recommend it to film viewers who want to delve into a film that depicts sexuality, especially on the part of the male, at its mot base and the resulting psychological and sociological effects that it has.