Fat Girl

Director: Catherine Breillat
Year Released: 2001
Rating: 3.0

Two sisters who look nothing like each other alternate between fighting and bonding - the younger (and heavier) one has a less romantic view of love than the idealistic older (and skinnier) one - and genuinely come together as soon as the older one's budding relationship with a law student dissolves. When compared to Hollywood teensploitation fare, it is considerably more honest and true, and the first sex scene with the prettier sister and her manipulative suitor hits (embarrassingly) close to home: it's the closest approximation I've seen of a guy trying to talk a girl into fucking him. The trouble comes in when Breillat goes back to being Breillat, imposing her nihilistic view of human relationships on her characters - the final act is pure grim nastiness (Bruno Dumont's Twentynine Palms goes in a similar direction after an abundance of serenity) and too ugly to take seriously (she also fails to give the chubby girl much of a voice - she's usually reduced to stuffing her mouth and sulking). At the very least Breillat keeps her sometimes laughable philosophical pronouncements to a minimum, and for two-thirds of the movie, tries to say something about gender differences and emotional attachment.