A Ma Soeur, released in English speaking countries as either For My Sister, or more commonly Fat Girl, is an interesting little experiment of a film. The experiment, as far as I could gather, is; how can we make a film that focuses on a character that essentially stays out of the way of the main action of the plot? That’s exactly what Fat Girl seems to do. Directed by Catherine Breillat, and starring a pair of semi-to-un-known French actresses, the story is the main product exhibited, but it is not the focal point.
The story revolves around Anais, a rather chubby girl, and her sister Elena, who is much more slender and attractive. Elena gets all the guys, even though she is saving herself for that special someone, who she thinks she meets in Fernando. Even though almost all of the principal action focuses on Elena, the title of the film is of Anais, and it is this dichotomy between them, and what Anais feels about Elena’s relationship with Fernando, that forms the basis of the film. The plot is there to provide a bouncing board for Anais’ feelings and responses, as her relationship with her sister shifts, sometimes dramatically between scenes; Elena will comfort Anais in one sequence, then hate on her and call her a bitch in the next. It may not be too logical, but it is certainly interesting, and that’s what keeps us invested in the film; besides, adolescence is rarely a time for logic to win over emotion.
This is pretty well filmed, and very well put together; even the acting is very natural and believable. So, why isn’t this getting a higher rating from me? The ending, that’s why. I won’t spoil it for you, but even if I did, you probably wouldn’t believe me; that’s how far out of left field this flies in from. I really have no idea why it happened, or to what purpose it served; I guess I was watching the film in a different viewpoint than the director wanted me to, or she really did intend to throw me off this much, in which case, mission fucking accomplished. But as for the rest of the film, it was an interesting character study in which the character being studied is essentially in a supporting role, which was a nice change-up, and the film managed to make it work effectively enough. As long as you ignore the ending (or maybe not; maybe the ending will enhance your experience), this one won’t be too bad of a way to kill an hour and a half on.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10