It’s so, so refreshing to see a movie in which fat people are treated as three-dimensional characters rather than played for laughs.
A Matter of Size, an Israeli film about four fat men who become sumo wrestlers, is a sweet, silly, and somewhat predictable romantic comedy–and it’s full of radical fat-positivity.
Herzl (Itzhik Cohen), finds an alternative to dieting and body-hatred when he starts working in a Japanese restaurant and learns about sumo wrestling. He quits his weight loss group, and, along with three of his friends, learns the art of sumo. He also falls in love with Zehava (Irit Kaplan), whom he met in the weight loss group.
Everything about the movie feels real: the fat hatred and discrimination that the characters face in their everyday lives, their complicated relationships with their own bodies and their family members, and their bumpy journey to self-acceptance. There are a few size-related gags, but it’s clear the movie is laughing with, not at, the characters.
The film also makes it clear that fat people can be fit and strong. There are numerous montages of the men training in the woods with their coach, Kitano (Togo Igawa), and it’s wonderful to see so much fat athleticism. Herzl is so strong that, in one of my favorite scenes, he tips over the car of a man who messes with him.
It’s also wonderful to see a fat couple onscreen, treated as humans rather than objects of ridicule (unlike the awful TV show Mike and Molly). It’s incredibly powerful to see fat people living their lives, falling in love, loving each other’s bodies even as they struggle to love their own.
There’s also a lovely subplot in which one of Herzl’s friends, Gidi (Alon Dahan), comes out as gay upon realizing that fat men like himself have a place in the bear subculture.
I can’t recommend this movie highly enough. If you have the chance, you should definitely see it!