Director: Patrick Kennelly
Writer: Patrick Kennelly, Sigrid Gilmer
Cast: Bethany Orr, Mary Loveless, Wes McGee, Kristin Minter, Jill Jacobson, Sheresade Poblet
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 20.9.2015
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard.]
Jill (Bethany Orr) and Jennifer (Mary Loveless) share an apartment, but not much else, although they are old friends: Jennifer is a model, outgoing, popular and she has no problems with getting guys. Jill on the other hand is shy, anxious and has an eating disorder. Tensions between the two start rising because of Rob (Wes McGee). He seems to like Jill, and Jill definitely likes him, but Jennifer keeps sleeping with him regardless. It’s only a question of time until Jill breaks completely.
Excess Flesh was announced as a completely disgusting, hard-hitting, excessive film. So much so that even among us /slash regulars we had bets going how long it would take until the movie completely derails. Well. It appears that we fell prey to false advertising. There is an emotionally hard-hitting core to the film but it never gets that out of hand. Not that I’m complaining about that – I actually quite liked the film as is.
Excess Flesh hinges on its two actresses, but in particular Bethany Orr who has no problem whatsoever with carrying the movie. That’s why I didn’t mind that she wasn’t actually fat, which, particularly in the light of later revelations in the film, I would have liked a lot. Jennifer might have been the less flashy role compared to Jill, but I did like Mary Loveless in it a lot as well.
Kennelly and Gilmer have obviously done a lot of research into eating disorders and the often accompanying borderline personality disorder. The result is a portrayal of the phenomenon that is beyond the usual platitudes that we get so often instead of an accurate examination. And they even manage to include a (dark and bitter) sense of humor in the film that is especially apparent in the game-show scene rather late in the film.
There are certain weaknesses. I don’t think that everything makes sense exactly when seen from a position after the final plot twist, but I’d have to watch the film again to make sure. It was also yet another film that featured a rape scene – which in the context of the film was perfectly fitting and well-done, but in the context of the /slash this year that was full of rape, I was moving towards the point where I just couldn’t handle it anymore to be confronted with rape every single night. But that is not really the film’s fault.
I can’t say that I enjoyed watching the film – it’s not the kind of film you enjoy – but I did appreciate the attempts that were made with it (most of which were successful). I think it’s an insightful film that avoids many pitfalls other films would have and did fall into.