Movie: Fat Girl

comment
Our Rating: 4.00

Provocation is again on the menu for fans of French writer/director Catherine Breillat, the woman behind such art-house scandals as the Lolita-lite "36 Fillette" and the sexually graphic meditation on female desire "Romance."

As "Fat Girl" opens, pudgy, pubescent Anaïs (Anaïs Reboux) and her slightly older sister, Elena (Roxane Mesquida), stroll through the resort where they are vacationing with their upper-middle-class family. As they will throughout the film, they disagree and compete. Baby-fat-swaddled tagalong Anaïs insists she doesn't care who takes her virginity; she wants to be "broken in" for her dream man. Willowy fashion-model manqué Elena maintains she'll hold out for true love, though they both know she will have no shortage of eager suitors.

Enter Fernando (Libero De Rienzo), an Italian law student vacationing nearby. As Anaïs looks on, Fernando zeroes in on Elena and -- in an extraordinary scene set in the girls' shared bedroom -- plies his underage intended with every trick in the young-cad handbook. The scene is discomfiting to watch, but so truthful that we can't look away. Breillat is similarly unblinking throughout, as the not-so-grown-up Elena wrestles with Fernando, and Anaïs wrestles with her own budding desires, her body image and her fraught relationship with her sister.

Despite the film's unvarnished portrait of teen-age realpolitik and the uncanny performances, Breillat's overall thrust remains a bit elusive. She effects a seismic shift in the film's tone and direction that many viewers will find disturbing, others a cheap trick. But no other film released so far this year is likely to generate as much discussion afterward.

Tags

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.