A 2021 Film Journey: Day 19

I finally got my year end list out (located here in case you missed it), but it once again took up most of my free time so today is another short entry. Tired but committed to keeping the project going, I did what I frequently do when looking for a movie I can fit in: walked over to my Criterion shelf and pulled movies out until I found something with a 2-digit runtime. Is this me admitting that I have dozens of unwatched Criterion releases that I’ve not watch? Yes, I never claimed I was a good role model.

Fat Girl (2001, Dir. Catherine Breillat)

Cruelly Coming of Age in Catherine Breillat\'s Fat Girl | Page 3 of 4 | 25YL

At the 80-minute mark, of this 86-minute film, I had an idea in my mind about how I wanted to talk about the film. At the 83-minute mark the last 3 minutes had shocked me, but confident that it was just a fantasy of one of the characters I still felt I had grasp on Berillat’s vision. And then the movie ended, and the last 6 minutes weren’t a fantasy, and I have no idea what to think about that, so I’m going to ignore it for now and talk about the first 80 minutes of the film.

Last few minutes notwithstanding, Fat Girl is a coming of age/ sexual awakening movie about two teenage sisters: Elena (Roxane Mesquida) the older sister and Anaïs (Anaïs Reboux) the younger one. While out on vacation the two take excursions to town and meet a grad student Frenando (Libero De Rienzo) who is instantly taken by the 15-year-old Elena. Frenando is a creep and the movie has no misgivings about that. He pressures Elena into having sex, guilts her when she feels uncomfortable and forces her to do anal. And yet when forced to leave Elena is destitute, because everything feels like the biggest deal in the world.

Where the film works the best is in the interactions between Elena and Anaïs. The sister very clearly get on each other’s nerves, but still deeply care about each other. The two are extremely open about their sexual attitudes and use one another to learn more about who they are and what their wants are.