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With: Anais Reboux, Roxane Mesquida, Libero de Reinzo, Arsinee Khanjian
Written by: Catherine Breillat
Directed by: Catherine Breillat
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: French, with English subtitles
Running Time: 86
Date: 02/10/2001
IMDB

Fat Girl (2001)

0 Stars

Plump Chump

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

If you plan to see this loathsome, repugnant movie, you should stop reading here. I will discuss the movie's unbelievable ending, for it ties in with just how bad Fat Girl really is. I went into Fat Girl with some trepidation, as I did not like director Catherine Breillat's last film Romance, which was an insultingly banal and grotesque "exploration" of twisted sexual desires wrapped up in an art film -- with lots of sex. But at least the characters in that movie were adults! Fat Girl projects its sick rape fantasies onto a pair of underage girls.

Fat Girl introduces its protagonists as two sisters, one thin and beautiful, the other fat. The movie's biggest revelation is that these two types of girls get treated differently in society.

If Fat Girl had chosen to explore this idea, discuss how or why, or even look at it in a different light, the film might have been worth something. But it just lays it out for us from the point of view of the two girls who are discovering this fact of life for the first time. Hey! We're treated differently and act differently because of our looks! What a headline! What insight!

Breillat provides the two girls, the pretty one named Elena (Roxane Mequida) and the fat one named Anais (Anais Reboux), with vapid parents who don't seem to notice anything going on with their daughters, other than the fact that Anais eats all the time. (Every fat kind in every stupid teen comedy is portrayed as eating all the time -- it's insulting.)

While on holiday with her family, Elena meets an Italian tourist named Fernando (Libero de Reinzo) and they immediately begin making out in a public restaurant and in front of Anais. Later, Fernando meets Elena for sex in her room -- also performed in front of Anais.

The first sex scene, shown to us in a single long shot, is basically a rape scene with Elena protesting that she doesn't want to have sex yet, and the horny guy trying to goad her into it. It's a horrible, vile scene.

Fernando gives Elena a ring stolen from his mother's jewelry box. When the girls' mother (Arsinee Khanjian) finds out, their holiday ends, and she loads them in the car and begins the long drive back home (the father has already left by then). We're treated to about 30 minutes of the characters driving, stopping to eat cruddy looking sandwiches and -- of course -- for poor fat Anais to get carsick.

After Breillat beats us into a severe state of ennui, our heroes fall asleep in the car at a rest stop. A heretofore-unannounced rapist bashes through the windshield, kills the mother and Elena, and hauls Anais into the woods to rape her. Anais decides not to tell the cops because she always wanted her first time to be with someone she doesn't love! Her family is dead and she's thinking about sex!

Worst of all, Breillat doesn't even bother to focus on the fat girl of the title! It's all Elena's story: Anais just eats and sulks. Even the insipid Shallow Hal has more to say about being fat than Fat Girl.

Clearly Breillat is one seriously disturbed filmmaker, making Oliver Stone and Brian De Palma look healthy and normal. She's trying for therapy in her films, but lacks the talent or artistry to make anything out of her demons. They're just naked demons, lying there with no disguises for everyone to see. She should just see a shrink and save everyone a lot of time and trouble.

I can usually find some redeeming facet in every movie, but Fat Girl has none. It's utterly worthless, and its existence serves no audience members -- only Breillat's nauseating fantasy. I've noticed several other critics calling it art merely because it's presented in French and was directed by a woman. (These same critics bashed the admirable French video Baise-moi which equated female sexuality with power.) This same movie directed by a man and/or in English would merely be undisguised sewage.

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