Your Fat Friend (2024) | Review

Aubrey Gordon challenges fat stigma, fad diets, and generational attitudes to weight gain in this charming and challenging documentary.

your fat friend movie poster
Source: The Movie Database

Synopsis: Documentary showing Aubrey Gordon's work challenging fat stigma, fad diets, and generational attitudes to weight gain. As her work gathers support, Aubrey must navigate moving from anonymity to public activism.

Director: Jeanie Finlay

How do you feel about your own body? What words do you use to describe it? And how might your perception of health impact those around you? Those are just some of the questions tackled in Your Fat Friend – a charming and politely challenging documentary by Jeanie Finlay.

Finlay balances an examination of health and wellness with Aubrey Gordon's self-discovery and personal evolution as she blossoms from occasional blogger to full-fledged author and award-winning podcaster. You'll be educated, amused, and left with a healthier perspective on your own body. Aubrey's journey to write a book (I would've liked a little more information about the process of raising her blog posts into a book) brings the natural development of her emerging, and even pushed via doxing, out of the shadows of anonymity.

At the centre of it all is the word 'fat' and the unease of people avoiding it (either literally or in conversation). Many of the film's most pressing points are excerpts from Aubrey's early writing on Medium, with kinetic typography used to boost effectiveness. The subjects tackled are surprisingly diverse – biases from doctors, a world not made with your body in mind, vintage diet books, and a playthrough of The Fabulettes' Try The Worryin' Way which makes you wonder how nobody shut the song down mid-production.

An examination of rhetoric from loved ones particularly struck a chord with me. I've never had a body I would classify as 'fat', although did educate myself about nutrition and exercise in 2016 to lose weight. Now I find myself questioning the pressures that got me there, and cringing while remembering the shower of "you're not going to lose any more weight are you?"s I received from my family.

This family dynamic is the strongest side of the documentary. While Aubrey reiterates some of her best writing in the film, the re-evaluation we see from her parents is enlightening and (hopefully) enough to motivate fellow parents who watch to have a healthier view of their children's bodies. There is a candid moment when her mother is caught off guard by answering a question and is clearly the catalyst to start reinterpreting years of either misinformation or damage.

Filming was impacted by the pandemic, unfortunately for the worse. There is a good crop of pre-lockdown filming with Aubrey as the film matches how we should embrace our bodies with nature scenes, visits her childhood swimming pool, and uses creative ways to show the ugly comments that her work attracts. Cameras were left with Aubrey meaning the story can thankfully continue, although standard pieces to camera are leaned on and don't have the flair of previous sections.

Luckily, Aubrey is nothing short of delightful. Her bubbly nature never undermines the severity of her message and she speaks honestly about her childhood experiences. You walk away not only truly knowing her but wanting to hear more (which will no doubt help the sales of her book). I heartily recommend catching this film and embracing the questions it asks of you. You will very likely be all the better for it.

Source: YouTube