Fat Girl Reviews
The film focuses on the relationship between two French sisters, one 15 years old and precociously attractive (Roxane Mesquida) and the other 12 and overweight and awkward (Anais Reboux). They're on a vacation with their parents. They meet a 20-something Italian college student (Libero de Rienzo) who takes an immediate and unseemly interest in the 15-year-old, one which her parents seem strangely not to mind.
There's a lot of nudity in the movie - it honestly feels like it should be illegal in some ways. The actress playing the 15-year-old, Roxane Mesquida, was apparently actually around 20 when the movie was made, so I guess no laws were broken, but she's emphatically playing a 15-year-old, and looks around that age. In this movie, the line between provocation and exploitation is hazy at best. It certainly made me uncomfortable, which it was clearly trying to do, so I guess it should be counted a success on that front.
Catherine Breillat, the film's writer and director, does have an interesting vision. The film's style is largely straightforward and realistic. She has quite a few very, very long unbroken takes, which make the actors' performances all the more impressive. On a purely formal level, it's the sort of movie Andre Bazin would have wholeheartedly approved of. On the level of content, it's a troubling movie that makes you feel guilty or at least uncomfortable simply for watching it. It does have a more pronounced feminist message than most movies, and I'm not saying the message is off-target - I'm just saying that Breillat chose a deliberately unwholesome way to convey it. That's not so much a reflection of the movie's actual quality as it is of how it made me feel. I can't say it's a bad movie, but I can definitely say no one is going to be happy with it or the world after watching it.