The story of an unexpected friendship between two women -- one obese, the other anorexic.
That's the one-sentence synopsis of the newly released movie, disFigured, which opens up with a group of overweight women who belong to a hardcore Fat Acceptance Group in Venice Beach, Calif. Women of various sizes (but all larger than a Size 12) discuss the indignities of living large in a never-too-thin society. One woman suggests gathering a group of plus-sizers together and telling the airlines who insist on charging double for an overweight person to fly to basically screw themselves if they can't meet their more spacious needs. And then there's talk of the condescending, ubiquitous phrase, "She let herself go" in reference to a woman who has gained weight. "I didn't go anywhere," the Fat Acceptance Group member snarks. "I'm right here."
The opening dialogue moves into a rare plotline that I found shockingly real, touchy, emotional, humorous and hurtful, and introspective for viewers heavy and thin alike. Lydia (played by Deidra Edwards) is a group member who wants to start her own Fat Acceptance Walking Group. She announces this to little fanfare from the group at large, who see it as her trying to lose weight and conform to society's pressure to be small.
"We are not a self-help group," the leader admonishes. " We are here to get a screwed-up world to accept us"
Lydia: "What about accepting ourselves?"
Leader: "Well, if you're having a hard time with that then you have internalized that prejudice. You are trying to change your body, Lydia, and that is self-hatred, pure and simple."
Lydia: "You're trying to change the world. Does that mean you hate the world?"
Leader (with a smirk): "Yeah...I do. Very often. Don't you?"
Enter Darcy (Staci Lawrence), a recovering-anorexic real estate agent. When this ultra-thin woman enters the group, the other women stare at her as if she's a dancing cat in a tutu -- is this a figment of their imagination? When finally asked what she's doing there, Darcy explains that, at her anorexic core, she feels fat. She wants to join in the movement.
Her honesty (however clouded by an eating disorder mentality) does not win her any fans -- one women says, in a slooowww, are-you-mentally-challenged voice, "This is a fat...acceptance...group."
And Darcy is summarily ousted.