A funny, feel-good movie about overweight people learning to accept themselves.
On a recent visit from my brothers and their wives, we were looking for an afternoon movie that would allow us time to go to dinner afterward. And that’s how we stumbled upon this cinematic gem called A Matter of Size, which was a recent entry in the Tribeca Film Festival. A Matter of Size is an Israeli film in Hebrew with English subtitles, which is unusual. But its subject matter is universal—the struggle of obese people to accept themselves.
How do they accomplish this? By deciding to leave their shaming, weekly weigh-in and diet support group (run by a very difficult, thin, female drill sergeant character) and training to become sumo wrestlers. That’s right—sumo wrestlers!
As it turns out, Herzl, the main character who has been fat since childhood, has recently been fired from his job and is working as a dish washer in a Japanese restaurant. The patrons introduce him to sumo, and he sees that sumo wrestlers, though fat, are also strong, healthy, and revered in their culture. A light bulb goes off. Rather than fight his weight, he could start training as a sumo wrestler and gain self-esteem. So he enlists his other overweight buddies to also leave the dieters group and join him. Soon they enlist the help of the restaurant’s owner, who is a former sumo coach from Japan.
One of my absolute favorite scenes happens when this Japanese coach convinces Herzl’s mother, a seamstress, that she can lend her support by sewing the diaper-like sumo wrestler loincloths for the men. Believe me, there are many, many hilarious scenes, the likes of which have never before been seen on camera.
A Matter of Size is also a love story. By the end, you don’t even see that the actors are overweight, either. You see only their vulnerability, strength, and humanity. I give this movie two thumbs up for its humor, compassion, and absolutely quirky content matter.