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  • Fat Girl (The Criterion Collection)
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Fat Girl (The Criterion Collection)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Anaïs Reboux, Roxane Mesquida, Libero De Rienzo, Arsinée Khanjian, Romain Goupil
  • Directors: Catherine Breillat
  • Writers: Catherine Breillat
  • Producers: Conchita Airoldi, Jean-François Lepetit
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: October 19, 2004
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002V7O10
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,471 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Fat Girl (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New digital transfer with restored image and sound plus new subtitle translation
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • Two interviews with the director including a look at the alternate ending
  • Trailers

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Twelve-year old Anaïs is fat. Her older sister, Eléna, is a teenage beauty. While on vacation with her parents, Anaïs tags along behind Eléna, exploring the dreary seaside town. Eléna meets Fernando, an Italian law student, who seduces her with promises of love, as the ever-watchful Anaïs bears witness to the corruption of her sister’s innocence. Precise and uncompromising, Fat Girl (À Ma soeur!) is a bold dissection of sibling rivalry and female adolescent sexuality from one of contemporary cinema’s most controversial directors.


Fat Girl is a typically shocking, utterly discomfiting provocation from director Catherine Breillat, whose excursions into female psychology and movie sexuality are anything but clinical. (See 36 Fillette and Romance for further proof.) Two adolescent sisters journey to the seaside on vacation with their parents; the younger sister is overweight and brooding, the older girl a beauty who attracts the attention of a smooth-talking boy. Much of the film is built around two painstaking seduction scenes, characteristically shot by Breillat with both comic and horrific overtones and long, uncomfortable takes. The final section then tips into an outright descent into hell--you can never let your guard down with Breillat. So complicated were the seduction scenes that Breillat subsequently made a feature about the shooting of them, Sex Is Comedy. Fat Girl was released under an alternate title, A ma soeur!, but Fat Girl, in English, is Breillat's original and preferred title. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

And this is where the film becomes especially brilliant.
darragh o'donoghue
'Fat Girl' examines both sisterly bonds and the exploration of sexuality without seeming exploitive or manipulative; an excellent film.
Joe Bowman
If you're like me and constantly tries to figure out a puzzled ending, don't waste your time on this movie.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

116 of 121 people found the following review helpful By K. Kramer-Romero on November 26, 2001
It upsets me that reviewers have focused on the issues of weight and female competition and jealousy that do exist in this film, but completely ignore the major point of this film. Breillat gives us a brutally honest portrayal of female "baptism" into sexuality. It is not pretty, or romantic, or even sensual (as the socially astute "fat girl" realizes). The older sister, whose bed is surrounded by issues of Cosmo, appropriately enough) is hyper-feminized, and believes that she needs to look as if she stepped off the pages of Cosmo to get and keep and please a man--the most important tasks a woman is given by our culture. Her younger sister is less accepting of these--in fact she repeatedly says that she wants to lose her virginity to someone she doesn't love (a fact consistenly ignored by reviewers in their reviews, and vital to understanding the ending and the distinction between the two sisters). The shocking ending is so significant in this regard--Breillat dares us to question the nature of female adolescent sexual experiences, and to blur the line between consensual and nonconsensual sex in the context of female adolescent sexual awakening. I believe that the consistent overemphasis on weight, (note the strange translation of A Ma Soeur to Fat Girl???) which certainly is an important underpinning of all that transpires in the film, is to the detriment of fostering open discussion of the issue of sexuality; I can only assume that this stems from an inability on the part of the public to get past the reality that adolescent females are in fact sexually active, do not have adequate and reliable resources and information to deal with newfound feelings and cultural expectations and norms, and face often traumatic circumstances as a result.
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97 of 118 people found the following review helpful By darragh o'donoghue on January 28, 2002
When I first heard that the English title of Catherine Breillat's 'A ma soeur' (literally 'for my sister') was 'Fat Girl', I was shocked that such sexism and sizism could exist in such strangulatingly p.c. times, especially in the light of the director's uncompromising, though idiosyncratic feminism. But from the very first sequence, Anais' weight is foregrounded, as she devours a banana split at a cafe while her sister is being chatted up by an Italian student. The body is the focus of this film, its display, and the attempts to control it, whether by deciding how much you're going to eat, by seducing minors or by deciding to whom you'll offer your virginity. Like another recent French film, Patrice Chereau's 'Intimacy', Breillat focuses on sexuality in a way hostile to mainstream cinema. Unlike 'Intimacy', whose gauche attempts at realism destroyed its credibility, Breillat insists on formality and artifice, from the summer holiday setting, with its two heroines 'locked up' in a chalet that, with its guards, gates, bars, curfews seems like a high security prison; to the ritualistic manner in which characters negotiate sex; to Breillat's awesomely complicated filming apparatus. The film's coup-de-theatre is a lengthy scene in which Elena sneaks in her boyfriend to the bedroom she shares with a sister she assumes is asleep. Not only is the viewer faced with the problematics of staring at the naked, fetishised body of a minor, and the increasingly grotesque and hypocritical attempts of her lover to seduce her; not only is the framing unflinchingly static, with the odd, sinisterly creeping movement, and the tight compositions forcing the two lovers into an airless claustrophobia; but our voyeurism is shared by our knowledge of the mostly unseen gaze of the younger girl looking on.Read more ›
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Steven Sprague on January 27, 2005
Format: DVD
Anaïs is a plumb, unattractive 12-year-old girl who lives in a dream world, not unlike many girls her age, where one day she'll find true love, marry and live happily ever after. Her sister Elena is a beautiful 15 year old who has become very aware of her sexuality. For the most part, their self-obsessive mother and workaholic father are uninvolved in their lives and they are pretty much on their own. During a family vacation, which dad must abandon because of work, the girls meet a good looking Italian law student, Fernando, and Elena, literally reeking with wanton sexuality, arranges to meet the young man at their vacation house. Since Elena shares a room with Anaïs, the younger sister is sworn to secrecy. After Fernando arrives, we learn very quickly that he's been around and his objective is solely to score with this young girl, but confronted with the reality of sex, Elena is hesitant. She wants more than sex . . . perhaps she even shares her younger sisters illusions about love. Nevertheless, Fernando convinces her that she can please him sexually and it won't really count as sex. This scene along with the actual act the following night are difficult to watch, but more so for Anaïs. Besides the anger, jealousy and disillusionment, all of her notions of romantic love are being warped. Her dreams have disappeared and she's become numb. When the shocking violent end arrives, we should hardly be surprised by her reaction. Graphic and powerful stuff by controversial director Catherine Breillat.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 1, 2001
This movie paints a vivid portrayal of sibling relationships. Although slow at times, the acting was superb and the plot kept me guessing. There is real suspense toward the end of the movie, and some scenes that are difficult to watch(sexual situations and extreme violence). This film is not for the faint of heart, but if you're looking for real drama and don't mind subtitles, you'll be able to learn something. I can't say that I left the theater thinking "Great movie!", but I DID think it was very powerful.
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