Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fat Girl

As I continue in my quest for a permanent address, I'm finding it tricky to figure out what to cover each week. But, since I covered the best movie I've ever seen, let's look at the worst. It may have been released on the Criterion Collection, the go to place for film snobs to look for classy movies, but so was Armageddon.

The movie is about the titular fat girl and her discovery of sexuality. And then an axe murderer shows up. Directed by Catherine Breillat, who seems to have a thing for portraying sex as something essentially unpleasant, it is completely pointless.

I imagine she wanted the viewer to feel very uncomfortable with young girls doing sexual things. Mission accomplished, because most sane people would feel uncomfortable with naked 14 year old girls. This is what is called being obvious. It's the rest of the movie that's the main problem though. Characters don't have personality, they're just there to lead to one or two uncomfortable and unpleasant sex scenes. They had no motivations, no personality, no internal life, they just existed to have their shirts removed in order to make some sort of statement on sex. Unfortunately - especially in regards to the end - that statement seems to be that the director should be going to therapy, not making audiences be her therapist for her.

Up until the ending, I was annoyed by wasting my time with this nothing of a film. It was a horrible little nothing of a movie, and completely unwatchable, but that's no different from a lot of movies. No, what made it the worst film ever was the axe murderer, who kills most of the characters, and then rapes the fat girl. The axe murderer exists for two reasons. One, it gives an ending to a movie that didn't actually have a story. Everybody dies, because they were killed by an axe, apart from the main character, the end! It's lazy writing. Second, the rape is played as something the victim enjoys. Call me old fashioned, but what the hell? Not to get into the psychology of sex, but is there a sentiment that's more damaging than playing a rape as something the victim likes? Especially in the case of a rape of an underage character.

At that moment, the film stopped being merely bad. I can handle bad, I watched Tomorrow We Move all the way to the end. No, it went from being indifferently directed and poorly written to being something highly objectionable. It's difficult to imagine a film where that would work. I suppose it's possible if you had some extremely well written characters and the psychology of the situation well defined, to make it clear that the victim still is a victim, possibly in unexpected, preexisting ways. In this case, it turned into something terrible. Given that the characters existed only to make some sort of sex point, and that they had absolutely no personality otherwise, the message of the entire movie seemed to be that rape is okay, as long as it's a fat chick, she wouldn't get to have sex anyway. Is there a message worse than that?

The worst movies are the dull ones, but the very worst movies are dull ones that aspire to be art. Fat Girl wants very much to be edgy art, but instead it's a nauseating look into the psyche of a woman. None of the ones on screen - they don't have psyches - but the one behind a camera. Someone who thinks the last scene is a good idea clearly has some serious problems.

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