Friday, December 23, 2011

Phase 4 Film Review - The Fat Boy Chronicles

We at The Little Pink House are in a transitional stage.  Diva is ten years old.  Now back when I was ten, you were still classified as a child until you hit thirteen at which point you became a teenager.  Well not anymore, now the years between 10 and 12 are the 'tween years. 

Those tween years may be the best ones to jump in and grab their attention while they still think you know more than they do.  The Dove Family Approved film "The Fat Boy Chronicles" could be a great tool (especially since it is based on a true story) for introducing your child to some potentially dangerous topics without getting too graphic.

I'll admit that I was a little skeptical of letting Diva watch this film with me.  I wanted her opinion and felt like she could handle the subject of bullying.  I didn't realize that it would cover so many other more mature situations.

Jimmy is an obese kid at a new high school.  The beginning was slow and wasn't helped along by the spa-like background music.  Music with a little more angst would have been appropriate.  I must say though that the character development of the antagonists was pretty convincing; Diva and I felt really bad for the Jimmy.   The teenagers were bullies and even the teachers were exceptionally unprofessional and almost caricatures of bad teachers.  

It was on the first day of school that Jimmy meets Sable, an emo girl, and finds out that his assignment for the year is to keep a journal for his English class.  The format of journal entries works really well for a teenager sharing their innermost thoughts. 

In the scene where Jimmy returns from the doctor's office after being told that he is obese, is heart-wrenching.  He comes in and throws the junk food on the ground and yells at his parents for enabling him; it is very moving. When I looked over at Diva, she had teared up showing she was emotionally invested in the character. 

From that point, Jimmy took control of both his bullying and his weight problem and I appreciated that his parents supported his efforts to lose weight.

Somewhere along the way we find out about the rough home life of Jimmy's best friend and that Sable cuts herself.

My issue with the movie was this:  it piled in too many teenage problems.  There was underage drinking, sneaking out, bullying, cutting, smoking, drug use, suicide, running away, alcoholic parents, skipping school, and after about an hour, it was almost too much.  What I can say in that regard though is that they never went into too much detail about anything other than the weight and bullying so it could be a good conversation starter. 

This movie captured the emotional outbursts of teenagers as well as the sort of selfish bubble that they live in.  Jimmy realizes that everyone has problems and he does seem to remain positive toward other kids in spite of their treatment of him.

I like that there is a backdrop of church without it beating the viewer over the head with religious doctrines and that Jimmy tries to do the right thing.  It accurately portrayed why those good decisions are hard to make since judgment is often clouded with selfishness, inexperience, hormones, and the general I-don't-want-to-rat-out-my-friends-even-though-I-don't-think-this-is-the-right-thing-to-do-ness of being a teenager.  In the end, the jock comes around, the cutter reconciles her demons, and Jimmy loses weight.

There is no foul language but there are a couple of scenes that are a little questionable.  It is filmed in a way that tweenagers and teenagers (the target audience) can relate to it.

Diva cried a time or two (she is a very sensitive soul) and when it was over, she said that it was a sad but good movie. 

If you would like to see "The Fat Boy Chronicles" it will be in released on DVD on January 3, 2012.

*I received a copy of "The Fat Boy Chronicles" from Child's Play Communications to review. All opinions are my own. Thanks Child's Play Communication!

2 comments:

  1. My kids are older than yours and I'm sure at least two of them would be sobbing. Unfortunately they don't need any introduction to several of these issues. Even in our small church-goin' town.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is sad and rather alarming at what kids are introduced to these days.

    ReplyDelete

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