To Be Fat Like Me

To Be Fat Like Me (TV Movie, TV-14).  Directed by Douglas Barr. Ardmore Productions, 2007. 90 minutes. $14.95

Plot: Aly’s got it all; she’s pretty, popular, and a star player on her high school softball team.  She’s sure to get offered a softball scholarship this year, until an injury has her sitting on the bench missing all the college scout visits.  So, Aly decides to enter a filmmaking contest hoping to win the prize money to pay for college.  The topic if her film: an inside look into what it’s like to be a fat girl in high school.  Aly’s theory is that if you smile and act friendly, people will respond in kind, and that the size of your body is not relevant.  Then she puts on the fat suit.  Now Aly experiences taunts, teasing and bullying because of her apparent weight.  Will she be able to better understand what it’s like to be fat?  Will she be able to make peace with her mother, who Aly thinks hides behind her weight problems?

Review: This movie has an interesting concept.  There are probably plenty of people, fat and thin, who have ideas about what it might be like to have the opposite body type.  Perhaps this film provides some insight into both sides.  This film deals with some heavy topics: disordered eating, obesity, bullying, and prejudice, among others.  I would give it a B grade.  It provides some pause for thought, but mostly it deals in a fairly superficial way with the topics.  It is enlightening to see Aly struggle with her conflicted feelings of sympathy and empathy toward a fat friend and judgment and disapproval of her overweight mother.  The movie just misses the mark with regard to providing meaningful events.  There were also scenes that were utterly unrealistic, for example, when Aly, in the fat suit, first walked into her summer school classroom a boy in the class mooed, loudly.  He received a look of disapproval from the teacher, but nothing else happened.  This might happen once, but this type of thing happened over and over throughout the movie, lowering its credibility.  This movie covered important topics to address, but did not address them well.

Genre: Drama

Reading/Interest Level: 10-15 years

Available in: DVD, on Lifetime Cable Network, available to buy or rent on iTunes

Subjects: body image, obesity, bullying, popularity, high school, friendship, family

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