Fit for a ghoul's night out, Fat Girl stands cast iron firm with the simplistic, fatuous, built-in excuse that its woman director is baring the harsh sexual realities of adolescent girls. Being a boy, I might not understand female behavior and am unequipped to analyze this particular pseudo-feminist coming-of-age story. Fair enough. I'll pretend to ignore the mannered posturing and Health Class 101 "this is a no-no" dialogue when Older Teenage Boy coaxes Younger Teenage Girl to let him have anal sex with her, speaking variations on "It won't hurt!" for a scene that seems to last at least ten minutes. This is done almost entirely in an unbroken master shot that suggests unimaginative camerawork more than unblinking voyeurism. They dare you to look away, without possessing the courage of allowing the children to actually sound like children (they're mouthpieces for writer-director Catherine Breillat's one-note clinical politics).
Rather than show an even-handed evaluation of the rigors of hormonal change, Breillat (previously responsible for the unwatchable Romance) wants to indulge in her hour of hate. Life is pain, highness. Get used to it. She'd find keen bedfellows in Neil LaBute and Todd Solondz, other sultans of misanthropy who lack the balls to be earnest or honest. For children, dealing with trauma and pain is complicated. To bury that in sarcasm and academic theory feels cheap. These would-be auteurs (more like hauteurs) haven't earned the right to display suffering because they don't layer it in emotional truth (as Mike Leigh does throughout Naked and David Lynch in several key scenes of Blue Velvet). Of course, there I go again comparing her to all these (better) male directors. I don't care. Gender be damned, she's borderline inept.
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