Hunger Point February 15, 2011Posted by Rusty in 20-24, hunger point.
H$ is right. You should be our Facebook friend. Click this link and join up. If you already joined you already knew that I’d be reviewing Hunger Point. Be in the know! As an added bonus, I will be posting a photo of Kate and I dressed as shepherds for a Christmas pageant. Kate is holding a stuffed sheep. It is adorable!
Anyways, Hunger Point. I’m such a sucker for movies that star people before they end up super famous. If a pre-Mad Men Christina Hendricks wants to star in a Lifetime movie about weight issues, obviously I am recording it. The idea of an insanely beautiful woman not being as thin as her mother wants sounds so Lifetimey! This is going to be great!
I even cheated. Before catching a bus, I watched the first five minutes to see if it lived up the hype my brain had generated. Oh man had it ever. Does the idea of a gothy Christina Hendricks calling herself a “fat pig” in a mirror do it for you? Because it does it for me. And then, WHAM, sex scene. The first five minutes of Hunger Point are insanely glorious.
So my Valentine’s Day was all set. I breaded and pan fried a veal chop, steamed some broccoli, and opened a bottle of red wine. It was going to be me and Hunger Point.
Holy Mother of God is Hunger Point terrible. Unwatchably so. This movie has no plot. It has no conflict. And each and every character is so terrible that you end up rooting for Ana to get all Angel of Death and wipe out the lot of them.
The film opens with a Tiger Mom, Marsha, taking her chubby pre-teen daughter, Frannie (total fattie name), to a Weight Watchers meeting. The next scene shows Marsha removing the skin from Frannie’s chicken. Throwing away the skin is a corporal offense in my family. Marsha is a monster!
Despite being thin, all of this focus on weight lands on the younger sister, Shelly. Shelly is explicitly told not to diet by Marsha because she already has “the legs of a gazelle.” But look at all the attention Frannie gets! Shelly wants a piece of that attention pie.
So then we have gothy Christina Hendricks calling herself a fat pig in high school and then college Christina Hendricks having clothed college sex. But Shelly calls in the middle of the intercoursing so sex is over. Frannie doesn’t understand how a girl can be skinny and still not happy.
Then we flash forward another five years and Shelly has just graduated from Cornell. She also has graduated to anorexia and bulimia. Next thing we know she is checking herself into a mental hospital for her eating disorders and depression.
So here’s the problem. We are ten minutes in. We have had two scenes with the mother where we get that she was terrible. And we also “get” that these eating disorders are mental and that Shelly is unwell. But you can’t have these showdowns between Marsha and Shelly ten minutes into the movie! This is Teleplay 101! We are supposed to be sympathizing with Shelly but it is impossible. She is being so mean and critical! You need more examples of bad parenting to openly root against Marsha and that hasn’t happened yet. Somehow this movie takes the Tiger Mom and makes her the sympathetic character! And the cognitive dissonance is so bizarre because the viewer knows that’s wrong and not where your sympathies are supposed to lie. It makes everything muddled and confusing.
Things are going poorly for Frannie too. She is unemployed and living with her folks. She suspects that Marsha is having an affair with a rival real estate agent. Over the next 30 minutes we realize that Frannie is unsympathetic too. She eavesdrops, looks in people’s private diaries and documents, and can’t hold down a job because of her petulant attitude. And the Dad isn’t much better! He acts the nicest but they make a big deal of him never visiting Shelly in the hospital. So there it is! Four characters AND THEY ARE ALL BAD!
Does it sound like spending two hours with this family will be time well spent?
Shelly continues to go crazy at this mental facility. You know how in your favorite movie, Heavyweights, the kids are supposed to be losing weight but instead sneak in a bunch of junk food. That is what is happening here but the opposite! Patients are supposed to be gaining weight but the patients are smuggling in laxative recipes!
My favorite scene is Frannie and Shelly going out to lunch when Shelly is feeling better. Shelly orders a salad and does nothing but cut at it. Frannie orders a soup and wolfs it down. But Shelly can’t eat by herself. So she makes Frannie order a turkey club with extra Russian dressing and french fries. And man does Shelly eyefuck that sandwich. That sandwich is arousing her. Awesome.
Also, Frannie thinks she’s getting a job so she goes to the hospital and forces the patients to have an impromptu dance party on her behalf. It is squirmingly awesome.
An hour into the movie they let Shelly out because she seems happy. We viewers know that she’s happy because she has embraced her disease. Her family thinks she’s all better. Well, better or not, maybe starting a huge fight isn’t the way to go on her first night back. Frannie, our hero and supposedly sympathetic character, actually gets jealous that Shelly made friends at the hospital and that people are welcoming her back. So she berates Shelly at the dinner table. Then the parents go at it over the dad never visiting her at the hospital. The Dad points out that he was taking care of his father-in-law while Marsha was fucking other dudes. I hate these people!
Well, we can hate one less because Shelly kills herself right then and there. Surprise!
So now Frannie is super pissed and blames her mom for Shelly’s death. I mean, it was kind of everyone’s fault. Awesomely, she tells Marsha that she wants to take a gun to her boyfriend head. Then, at the funeral, it turns out that Marsha isn’t sleeping with the handsome realtor. She has been sleeping with her obese boss! Hahaha. Irony.
Frannie decides to get the ultimate revenge on her family by becoming anorexic and bulimic herself. That’ll show them! Way to think that one through, Francine. Dad catches her purging and tells her to stop being such an asshole.
Marsha moves out which makes Frannie even ragier. When she pays Mommie Dearest a visit everything that comes out of her mouth is soaked in vitriol. Marsha tries to make it better by offering her “sugar free Jello.”
1. Still with the weight? Even after your youngest had an eating disorder that led to her death?
2. I actually eat sugar free Jello and sugar free popsicles. Guess what two words I never say when offering someone Jello or popsicles.
3. Marsha doesn’t pull two plastic Jello containers out of the fridge. That would be too normal. Instead she pulls out two cocktail glasses filled with gelatin out of the fridge. How many glasses does she have in there? That is really weird!
This movie is interminable! I am sure the review is getting that way, but it just keeps going! Frannie meets a dickhead lawyer at her grandpa’s nursing home and they go on a date. He jokes about he used to be a skeleton in college when he had to make wrestling weight and WHOOPS. Frannie goes on a crying jag which leads to kissing. By date #2 he is calling her “the one.”
Dad puts on a cowboy outfit for a dating site and Frannie makes an impassioned speech about family at her sister’s grave. The End.
I guess it has to be seen to be believed. And it’s very well acted. But I’d have more of a rooting interest for a member of the Manson Family than these goons.
HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 10
This is a no-brainer. Marsha is played by Barbara Hershey. How great was she in Black Swan!? A million units of greatness.
As for Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks: This is the first time I had seen her in anything besides a red carpet special or an Everclear video. I plan on watching Mad Men eventually but I am zero episodes in. Everyone knows how gorgeous she is now, but this way before dudes were salivating over her. But even when she’s put in frumpy clothing instead of va-va-voom dresses, it just doesn’t matter. The camera LOVES her.
Ms. Hendricks is clearly a good actress. I can actually imagine scenes of this horrible movie making it on the clip reel that ended up at the Mad Men audition. I am glad she moved on to better things.
Also, in a true THAT GUY moment, Dad is played by Mark Zuckerberg’s attorney in The Social Network. No, not Rashida Jones. The other one.
It’s about anorexia. I mean, come on.
GRAND TOTAL: 21
Famous, talented actors end up with far below the sum of their parts.
Edit: H$ is always right about everything, and this includes the significantly lower score that she gave this film when she reviewed it in 2009. Disagree? Why not check out her review here?