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Fat Girl 2001

NR
3.3 out of 5 stars (61) IMDb 6.5/10

Twelve-year-old Anaïs is fat. Her sister, fifteen-year-old Elena, is a beauty. While the girls are on vacation with their parents, Anaïs tags along as Elena explores the dreary seaside town. Elena meets Fernando, an Italian law student; he seduces her with promises of love, and the ever watchful Anaïs bears witness to the corruption of her sister's innocence.

Starring:
Anaïs Reboux, Roxane Mesquida
Runtime:
1 hour, 26 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Catherine Breillat
Starring Anaïs Reboux, Roxane Mesquida
Supporting actors Libero De Rienzo, Arsinée Khanjian, Romain Goupil, Laura Betti, Albert Goldberg, Odette Barrière, Ann Matthijsse, Pierre Renverseau, Jean-Marc Boulanger, Frederick Bodin, Michel Guillemin, Josette Cathalan, Claude Sesé, Marc Samuel
Studio The Criterion Collection
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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