Eye For Film >> Movies >> Fat Girl (2000) Film Review
Attractive 15-year-old Elena (Roxane Mesquida) meets Italian law student Fernando (Libero de Rienzo) and embarks on a whirlwind holiday romance.
Elena's younger sister, the dumpy 12-year-old Anais (Anais Reboux), can see that Fernando only wants to add Elena to his list of conquests.
Elena lets herself be seduced, in spite of warnings from her sister-rival-confidant, by Fernando winning her over with an engagement ring. He says it belonged to his deceased grandmother when, in fact, it belongs to his mother, who visits Elena and Anais's mother and the truth comes out...
For me, A Ma Souer has two main weaknesses.
First, the characterisation of Elena. Her naivete is incredible. One could imagine such a girl existing somewhere, but here, it is hard to accept her romantic ideals surviving in the face of cynicism and counterfactuals, as offered by Anais, and that Elena would consent to sex with Fernando in her sister's presence.
Second, the ending.
If it is to be taken as a realistic depiction of events, it simply jars.
It's not that Catherine Breillat doesn't indicate that something bad is about to happen, more that her direction leads us to expect the opening of Three Colours Blue, not House On The Edge Of The Park.
If it is supposed to represent a fantasy on Anais's part, it is inadequately signalled as such.
These criticisms aside, there is much to appreciate - enjoy would be the wrong word - in A Ma Soeur.
Breillat's direction, unflinchingly going to the edge of what can be shown in the sex scenes and displaying a keen eye for detail and nuance elsewhere, is hard to fault, as are the excellent performances by the young leads.
The film's tagline, "A new provocation from the director of Romance", sums it up best: Breillat's films challenge the viewer, but their truthfulness is too often compromised by a need for confrontation and controversy.Reviewed on: 14 Aug 2001
If you like this, try:Somersault