Monday, March 7, 2011

On Movies - a weighty subject

This week's theme at The Bumbles blog is the role weight plays in film. So, we're thinking about those films with characters who are struggling with their weight, whether it's trying to lose pounds or gain them. This is a challenging theme, especially for major films as this seems to be a minor theme reserved for supporting cast members, i.e. the over-weight side kick, male or female. Television shows/movies approach weight issues in leading characters much more forthrightly. Here are some examples from film, cable TV and TV:

An obvious choice - Bridget Jones's Diary!

Big girl panties.

Bridget: Resolution #1: Uggg - will obviously lose 20 lbs. #2: Always put last night's panties in the laundry basket. Equally important: will find nice sensible boyfriend and stop forming romantic attachments to any of the following: alcoholics, workaholics, sexaholics, commitment-phobics, peeping toms, megalomaniacs, emotional f*ckwits, or perverts. Will especially stop fantasizing about a particular person who embodies all these things.
Black Swan - As an ambitious ballerina, Portman's character is never seen eating real food. Once she is named to the big role, her mother buys a huge cake to celebrate but Portman only allows herself to take a tiny swipe of the icing. The implied eating disorder featuring extreme deprivation is only explicit in this scene and is just one aspect of the main character's disturbed psychological functioning.

The Karen Carpenter Story (1989) - a made for TV movie that brought anorexia and bulimia into the public's consciousness.

Speaking of over-weight side kicks, the Rhoda TV show was a spin off of one such character from the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Rhoda was Mary's "weight-conscious" friend.

Kirstie Alley's TV series Fat Actress was made for cable TV's Showtime. Her weight is the main character in this show.

Can you think of any movies, TV movies or TV shows that have portrayed a male character's struggle with his weight?


Babbling Banana said...

Can't really think of any male characters who have weight issues. That must say a lot about society. I am forever haunted though by Christian Bale's performance in The Machinist where he lost 60 lbs and ended up weighing like 120lb. Ewwww.

Sassy B. said...

I haven't seen that film. Bale was sure thin for his role in The Fighter.

Lindsey said...

Great choices! Especially including Black Swan, which was a realistic portrayal into the life of an overachieving ballerina.

The Gal Herself said...

I remember that MFTV movie about Karen Carpenter. You're right -- before Karen Carpenter, no one understood anorexia. Good choice.

An Eerie Tapestry said...

Good choice with the Karen Carpenter story. We can include TV series too? In that case I'd have mentioned St. Elsewhere where one of the regular characters died as a result of bulimia. Also, really good point about no male characters struggling with their weight; still struggling to think of an example.

dkuroiwa said...

The only thing I can think of is Mr. Mom....Michael Keaton's character became the stay-at-home dad and as a result of not doing very much at all, gained a lot of weight...favorite line: "i'll sick here on the fat couch, wearing my fat shirt, watching the fat tv".
of course, he very quickly turned his life around, got thin and the house got clean and the kids began to behave....amazing how quickly that happened for the dad!

dkuroiwa said...

*oops...."i'll SIT here..." not sick. (tired tonight and finding it hard to type!!)

yogurt said...

Real Women Have Curves (America Ferrera) was the story of an overweight Hispanic woman whose mother harps on her about her weight. I think to the tune of, "you'll never be a success."

My Big Fat Greek Wedding - Not sure this one dealt with her weight directly but she felt big and frumpy compared to her sister.

Sassy B. said...

Real Women Have Curves!!! Right there in the title of the film. Good one.

yogurt said...

And of course there is Precious. Weight as a protective barrier, food as solace.