Jeanie Finlay (director)
09 February 2024 (released)
06 February 2024
The pressure on people to look a particular way or conform is constant. It’s always been there just the explosion of social media its endemic and become much more toxic.
It takes on many forms. The pressure to have tattoos and piercings seemingly the current one. Oddly for people who tend to think of themselves as individuals they tend to be very compliant to modes and trends hence the ubiquity of men with tattoos, beards and caps.
Writer/blogger Aubrey Gordon never set out to be any sort of a rebel. She just wants to be herself. And herself is someone content with her own body and mind and in control of her life.
What Aubrey and writer/director Jeanie Finlay skilfully expose is the multitude of ways that fat people are prejudiced against. Comfortable seating in a plane is one thing, the stigma and humiliation that goes with it is another. The pressures on people to diet and calorie count are staggering, usually tying in with the endless products that are pitched across all types of media.
Gordon dissected all this with her long running anonymous blog later foregoing that anonymity to publish a best-selling book. Her writings as ‘Your Fat Friend’ struck a chord with many, sharing her problems; beautifully written with insight and wit. With sad inevitability she also had to deal with the hatred that now is part and parcel of certain platforms.
The film examines Aubrey’s early years her difficulties with her family and eating disorders and the inevitable diets that followed. At times its heartbreaking others very funny as Gordon opens up her collection of dieting books some which border on the absurd.
Aubrey concentrates on the treatment of fat people and their rights though this has some logical read across to other social issues such as LGBT+ and racial matters – especially the bias towards white males in so many areas.
Filmed over six years, the presentation by Finaly is assured and doesn’t fall into the trap of turning into a diatribe against losing weight. There are certainly issues around the industry which are presented with assertive humour and facts. If it suits the individual to diet, fine go ahead.
That latter point was struck home when Adele lost weight. She didn’t make a fuss about it just did what she felt was right for her. A decision that Aubrey commented on and the singer replying with a thank you on Twitter.
Your Fat Friend opens in the UK on 9 February 2024.