BFI Flare Review: Well Rounded (2020)

Certificate: TBD

Director: Shana Myara

Starring: Jenny Ellison, Ivory, Lydia Okello

Genre: Documentary

Runtime: 61 mins

Language: English

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

Shana Myara’s documentary focuses on fat and fierce babes in Canada who are using their creativity to clap back at a diet culture that seeks to shrink marginalised bodies. Interviewees all tell stories of struggle, self-actualisation and radicalisation, and taking back charge in a fatphobic, racist heteronormative society. Here, fatness, queer identity and race intersect in unique ways that never get represented in film, underlined with a fat-ass bass soundtrack and gorgeous animation. It’s a truly liberating film, and through its use of burlesque, comedy, dance circus, media and more, you will be left in no doubt of the intrinsic value of ALL bodies. DIY, direct and full of heart, Well Rounded takes us through personal stories of terror and triumph – this is the fat queer film we’ve been waiting for! – From BFI

By the end of this short documentary, I felt empowered and inspired and a little emotional, so powerful were the stories and feeling discussed by these fierce, proud women.  Right now, as I am writing this, societies attitudes towards women are at the forefront of the news, and the more you watch testimonies like the ones we hear here, the more you come to realise how important they are.  And this film does not shy away from any of it’s topics at all.  They are all own voices stories, told by women who are unashamed of who they are and what they look like, and they should be powerful beacons to women and young girls all around the world to do the same.

Some of the stories, statistics and facts discussed here genuinely shocked me.  There is a story about a particularly uncomfortable Smear Test that I will not forget in a hurry.  And they all go a long way to highlighting how fat-phobic and fat-shaming the world can genuinely be, and the terrible effects that these kinds of experiences can have on people, all in the name of trying to ‘Help’ them.  Despite it’s heavy messages though the documentary manages to keep a fairly positive air about it.  A couple of the women interviewed are comediennes, so comedy is used a lot to keep the mood light.

If anything, I wish this could have been a little longer.  It doesn’t feel rushed at all, but I got to the end wishing I had learned more.  Gone into the history of the medias treatment of fat people and the supposed ‘Health Crisis.’  We got little bits of it, but I would have liked more, to give us some background to the movement.  Same with the interviews and first hand accounts, all were fascinating, and emotional and very, VERY personal in nature, and I would have loved to hear from more voices on the subject.

Incredibly eye-opening and interesting, it comes across well researched and well presented.  But maybe needed more background.  Trigger Warnings for topics such as: Rape, Self Harm, Bullying, Fat Phobia and Racism

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