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Fat Girl (Ā ma soeur!) Reviews

Page 1 of 22

Super Reviewer

April 1, 2009
I didnīt know Catherine Breillatīs work, so it was quiet a good surprise. The movie is very realistic and it shows perfectly the sisters relationship (love and hate) and the excitement, fear and all feelings around the first sexual experience.

I donīt think the end is supposed to shock. From the first scene we know that something is going to happen, even tending to think that Anaïs is going to do something against Elena. When they are driving home and later, in the car, after Elena comes back from the bathroom, it gets obvious. Experimenting her sexuality through her sisterīs, when Anaïs says Elena to not think about Fernando and sleep it seems that sheīs saying: just sleep, now itīs my turn. She doesnīt try to escape from the murder, she barely tries to resist; she knows that itīs something inevitable as much as it is to a guy falling in love or be attracted to her sister. She doesnīt seem shocked or sad with her mother and sisterīs death, but satisfied for knowing how itīs to be desirable - wrongly thinking, of course - and free (or something alike) of the heavily presence (and beauty) of Elena.
Lady D

Super Reviewer

August 15, 2007
I have mixed feelings on this storyline, firstly it articulates the feelings of these two very young girls in a realistic sense, I?m sure many ladies out there watching this film will relate to this with nostalgia and can draw an understanding of the circumstances.

Secondly though, it was no doubt controversial and an uncomfortable watch in parts, especially with the nudity, I guess, the disturbing feel is what you are supposed to feel with this storyline, of course you can see it?s purpose yet almost wish it wasn?t necessary.

It cleverly unravelled the manipulation from the male, which is targeted, obviously to the girl because of her age.

Finally the ending, which was totally unexpected, sums up the whole theme of the film and the different view points in which the girls have about their first sexual experience and does not logically make sense, but, I guess the beauty of this film is that, it is illogical and told through the eyes of the innocent.

Super Reviewer

January 13, 2009
This is a film that could not have been made in Hollywood. The social restraints (not to mention the legal ones) would not have permitted it, at least not in its present form. Fat Girl is quite frank and matter-of-fact in the depiction of adolescents in sexual situations. This adds to the impact of the picture but undoubtedly limits its accessibility to American audiences. Its not mainstream cinema, it was never intended to be, but I, for one, found its honesty refreshing., if the ending doesn't give you one of those jaw-dropping, did-I-just-see-what-I-thought-I-saw moments then you're not paying attention.

Super Reviewer

November 26, 2008
this is a startlingly frank feminist film about the way society judges women and the way we internalize that as girls. the sisters' relationship seemed really natural and even sweet at times and there are funny moments but i must say...this made me as uncomfortable as anything i've seen since todd solondz's happiness. the ending is so disturbing that my mind recoiled. alot of people won't like this film but it has a definite point to make and i think it did that powerfully. i'm interested in seeing more of breillat's work

Super Reviewer

January 19, 2008
This French story of two sisters (one is gorgeous and sexy and one is fatty) through their summer holiday who are going to try to loss their virginity, is really strange and weird.
Dr Blood  

Super Reviewer

June 30, 2007
After nearly an hour and a half of watching French teenagers being French teenagers and having boring conversations interspersed with occasionally humourous (though supposedly titilating) fumblings, the sick ending of this film will knock your socks off.
Mark A

Super Reviewer

October 4, 2008
A disturbing film about adolescent and pre-adolescent sexuality. Provokes a certain amount of self-examination. In which of the characters do you see yourself? The worldly wise younger sister who does not fit the ideal of desirability, yet longs to be desired? The older sister, longing for experience and yet fearing it? The Lothario eager to seduce the virgin and taking full advantage of her ambivalence? The father who cares more about his business than the health of his family? Or the mother who is so cold, she would rather punish her daughter for having sex than for helping her deal with the devastating aftermath? The ending caught me by surprise. I kept waiting for Anais to wake up from the nightmare. That she didn't made the movie much less easy to dismiss.
John B

Super Reviewer

November 7, 2010
Those in Ontario will recall that this movie was subject to the condemnation of censors due to shots of underage boobie. Director Breillat used a large black box in order to call attention to the fact that others were making decisions on what you could or could not see. In fact, what the censors may have been protecting the audience from was a good film completely derailed by a ridiculous and unnecessary ending. A director gone wild for sure.
Chris B

Super Reviewer

July 18, 2011
A strong and bold look at female sexuality during adolescence and also a coming of age story between two sisters. The story revolves around a gorgeous 15 year old sister and her fat 12 year old younger sister. Graphic it's in sexuality and brutally honest, the story is quite realistic and because of this connects deeply with the audience. A rather shocking and graphic ending is a fitting conclusion for such a hard hitting drama and disturbing film. Another hard watch, but a rather great film that's honest and filmed with passion. You can see the passion in Director Catherine Breillat during the interviews that Criterion has provided in their Supplementary Features on the disc. The film has amazing cinematography and is brilliantly filmed, Recommended!
Ivan D

Super Reviewer

May 4, 2011
Adolescent sexuality. It's a theme too sensitive and downright naive to really expose in such a raw, disturbing and depressing light. Yet that's actually what director Catherine Breillat has done in "Fat Girl": A thorough exploration of early sexual awakening, abstract sibling relationships and artificial promiscuity that ultimately leads into disintegration.

I really think that with a more light-handed filmmaker, the theme could have been made and executed as a bittersweet tale of gullible love seen through the eyes of a fertile and curious girl. But given that a sensible approach to the issues tackled by the film is much more preferable, "Fat Girl" neglected all of these and instead hovered around its characters with detached apathy. And putting an ambiguous, fantasizing, ennui-stricken female character in its center both as an observant and observed does not just complicate the matter, it also puts the film into a critical extremity.

Call it depressing, call it exploitative, but by all means, "Fat Girl" delivered what it has intended to, and also puts into exposition and emphasis those that should have been otherwise. And just like Gaspar Noe's works, the film has displayed uncommon bravery.

The film is chiefly about the relationship between 15-year-old Elena (Roxane Mesquida) and her sister Anais (Anais Reboux in a very daring performance). The opening scene, after we heard Anais' haunting song and saw her dead set stare, we are introduced to the relational condition of the siblings. We hear the words 'fat slob' and 'loose morals' hurled at each other devoid of any verbal emotions. They walk shoulder to shoulder through the woods and into the streets but they're of the opposite looks and mindsets.

Anais, an overweight girl, states that first-time sex should be with anybody, while Elena, a beautiful 'Lolita-like' teenager, suggests the generalized importance and pleasures of 'sleeping' around with many. It's a conversation captured with such normality and spontaneity that it makes it more disquieting.

How did such girls at a tender age know too much and very opinionated about things they shouldn't be hearing about in the first place? Catherine Breillat brings us into an alternate reality of France where it's not all about the elegance of love and romance, but a washed-out place (both in color and moral fiber) where the idea of sex is messy and sudden while the concept of virginity is not about its preservation but to whom it must be lost and why.

"Fat Girl" also delves into sexuality to which physical carnality is endlessly fantasized while the context of true love contained within it is superficial at best. As I hear the narcissistic Fernando's (Libero De Rienzo) promises to Elena as he fondles her virginal body, it sickens me. Through that specific sequence, Breillat also gives out a statement about how sweetened, unfulfilled pledges is an easy way 'in' into cheap romances and also the easiest way out.

Yet the essence of the sisters' relationship does not start and end on sexual commentaries. We are also compelled to notice the sisters' 'love-hate' connection. One sequence, we see them throw dry insults at each other as if they have a scorned relational void rotten by time. But in the next, they suddenly hug each other. Insult, hate, laugh, laugh, hate, insult.

It's their cycle, but is there an absolute? What is the true weather of their bond? "Fat Girl" presented it with such disfigured profundity (highlighted by how Elena and Anais recalled their childhood and how they compare themselves in front of a mirror) that it seems futile to look deep enough and as if both of them locked up the answers and covered it up with their one-bit fantasies.

Graphic and at times, emotionally disorienting, this is the antithesis to shallow teenage films talking about 'cute guys' and 'first dates', "Fat Girl" rests upon a dark truth within adolescent existence; 'truth' which do not just come like a gentle revelation, but one bent on shattering the windshields of escapism to present us with certain uncomfortable notions, but those that are ultimately in touch with reality.

The film is widely known to have a very 'controversial' and 'shocking' ending. I do not like hype, but "Fat Girl's" final sequence lives up to its notoriety. Quite ironic considering that it's about victory.

Super Reviewer

May 3, 2011
Both Anais Rebous, as the titular fat girl, and Roxane Mesquida, as her beautiful sister, give amazing performances; they may not resemble one another, but they have a bonding that is very true to real life, where good and bad feelings towards each other, especially siblings, are often hard to tell apart.
The film has a very honest way of looking at relationships at such a vulnerable age, but I still personally couldn't help feel a little distant from the characters.
Janice :

Super Reviewer

June 10, 2008
I am really happy that Oscar recommended this little film to me a while ago, even though he ended up disliking it (whatever, I've always had the best taste in cinema anyways, hahaha).

Intense, insightful, painful, raw, and truthful.

I was hooked the second the film started playing. Filled with so much young talent and an innocence coupled with honesty that almost made me blush.
I still cannot fathom the idea that this film was banned by certain cinemas back when it was released. Seriously now, if individuals refrain themselves from seeing a film based on excessive usage of adolescent nudity and controversial issues, then they are just SO missing out on rare gems like this one. So will it be 1953 or 2010? Ridiculous!

See this now if you haven't done so already. You will love me for recommending it.

Super Reviewer

May 4, 2009
Incredibly dark dram that you'll never forget and will never want to watch again. This is indeed one of the greatest film ever made. It's really hard to rate this film due its morality. However, it would be cruel to not give this film the stars it truly deserves.The way it slap the dark reality unto viewer's faces that leaves us speechless. Yet, there are no escape because of obvious elements in the film. "That's sick."
Sunil J

Super Reviewer

December 28, 2007
Really has a fucked up ending but I liked most of it. Sad, either way.
Wu C

Super Reviewer

April 26, 2007
A little bit of a sibling rivalry theme. Male characters are not very likable. The end seemed to be tacked on though.
May 5, 2011
Disturbed as all of Breillat's work and themed on sexuality, the sexuality of teenagers here... their curiosity and discomfort, the relationship to the body: one is a pretty girl who hooks up with an Italian hunk, the younger sister is a fat girl. The setting is a summer vacation with their parents at their beach home...
(if i remember right)
November 3, 2010
"When I hate you, I look at you and then I can't. It's like hating part of myself. That's why I loathe you so violently."

Favorite scene:
When Fernando is pressuring Elena. I feel like I should have watched that scene when I was 15, if it could have kept me from making the same mistake. I identify with both of the sisters. Elena my past and Anais my present.

Best performance:
Anais Reboux as Anais and Roxane Mesquida as Elena.

Random thoughts:
I want to start off by saying that unlike some people who watched this movie, it did not "disturb" me. I am not "offended" by it. It will not "haunt" me or anything like that. I won't say I enjoyed it merely because I don't believe it was intended to entertain. I believe it was meant to make us think, and it achieved that goal.

About the ending, yes, it came out of nowhere and it could have been done a great deal better. I understand how she claimed she wasn't raped because hadn't that been what she wanted? However, I can't believe those two violent deaths didn't seem to faze her at all.

This movie is not for everyone, but I recommend it to women like me who personally connect with the issues the movie presented.
May 6, 2010
Wow, definitely a one-of-a-kind movie, with some briliiant feminist-driven dialogue and use of foreshadowing to create a sometimes unbearable tension. I watched this yesterday and still have a weird feeling in my soul from the ending, as well as a few realistic scenes which made me squirm as they were reminiscent of personal experiences I had as a young teen. You pretty much have to be in the right kind of mood for this one, because it is pretty startling and at times dismal. Recommended to fans of directors like Michael Haneke and Todd Solondz.
March 24, 2007
Most people watch movies in order to enjoy them. Every so often a film comes around that is hard to enjoy, but is undeniably artistic. And I'm not saying the movie isn't good -- I'm saying you're not supposed to leave the movie with feeling satisfied, happy, or particularly having enjoyed it.
I found the relationship between the sisters to be superbly crafted. Despite their differences and constant bickering, they love each other. This is clear. The sisters meet Fernando, who proceeds to seduce 15 year old Elena with every cliched "you have to have sex with me to prove you love me" technique imaginable. However mind-bogglingly obvious his impure intentions are, Elena falls for it hook, line, and sinker. Though it sounds rather formulaic, I found it intriguing because it really does happen this way so often.
It is interesting how the younger Anais recognizes Fernando's intentions, yet allows her sister to make her own mistakes. Inevitably, it becomes apparent to all that Fernando betrayed Elena in the worst way. The mother responds in what is a rather cold and unsympathetic manner, but in reality this is exactly how any parent would react in the situation.
This is a spoiler-filled review, so I will now tackle the ending without holding back details. I'm sure many people are reading this in order to find out the opinions of others over the shocking and violent final scenes. Most of the parallels that this form explains have already been mentioned in other comments here. Is virginity sacred? Anais and Elena would answer that differently. Nonetheless, the end result is the same for both -- their first mates betray them. Elena believed her virginity was sacred, but was easily seduced and lost it. Even though Anais has a different take on virginity, she is also betrayed, this time by a rapist. You can also ponder the moral quandary of whether or not Elena was raped by her Italian lover. She may as well have been. In fact, it seems that having her heart torn out was more emotionally traumatic than when Anais's virginity was forcibly torn away.
Of course the responsibility for the tragic ending lies solely on the maniac who commits the acts. Yet, situationally speaking every single character (both sisters, both of their parents, Fernando, Fernando's mother) is somehow responsible for putting them in that place at that time.
If you're looking for a deeper meaning in the ending, I believe there is a notable parallel between the narrative and the ending. So many people have said, "the director ran out of ideas" or "it's a gimmick" or "it's just shock value" or just think it doesn't fit the narrative. Many have expressed feelings of cinematic betrayal in the end of the film -- this betrayal mirrors the betrayal of both sisters. The director is like Fernando, seducing us for the entire film, screwing us, then abandoning us. It is so sudden, shocking, and unbecoming that we feel raped... much like the Fat Girl.
The cinematic and artistic values hold true in the ending. You just have to look for it. It is up to personal taste whether this makes for a "good movie" or not.
June 14, 2008
I don't think the film is as shocking as some might make it out to be. It's feministic, though not blatantly so -- and I didn't hate it. Haha.
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