Written and directed by Catherine Breillant, who was responsible for the graphic romp that was Romance (1999), Fat Girl follows the misfortunes of Anaïs, an overweight and extremely intelligent 12-year-old. Despite that intelligence, Anaïs prefers to watch the world going on around her, rather than attempting to take an active part in it, such is her shame about her physical appearance. Spending the summer in a seaside resort town with her family, Anaïs develops a fixation with her elder sister's, Elena (Mesquida) and her relationship with an Italian law student. Although extremely sexually graphic in places, Breillat's latest offering is unlikely to gain the same sort of notoriety as Romance. Which is no bad thing as Fat Girl is a far more mature film, dealing with themes rarely hinted at in Hollywood movies - Todd Solendz's Welcome to the Dollhouse honourably excepted, natch. The script is a tightly wound affair, but what makes Fat Girl a truly interesting proposition is the sheer power of Anaïs Reboux's central performance, which is one of the finest performances by a child actor that this reviewer has ever has seen. Not for the squeamish, though.
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