It is difficult enough being a teenager without having to deal with the stigma of being overweight. Interestingly, this year at the festival there were two French language young adult films focusing on different aspects of the struggles of being an overweight girl in society. In 100 KILO STERNE, the protagonist is Loïs (Laure Duchene) who dreams of being an astronaut. There is one problem though: she weighs over a hundred kilos and, due to strict physical requirements astronauts must reach, she is extremely unlikely to ever achieve her goal. After starving herself in the hopes of losing weight, she becomes extremely unwell and is placed in a clinic to recover. There she meets three other girls who are struggling with their own health issues, and all three decide to work together to help Loïs achieve her dreams. JULIETTErevolves around the life of the eponymous teen (Alexane Jamieson) who dreams of fitting in and dating attractive guys. During the last few weeks of school before summer vacation, she will try to reach her goals, but might just find that achieving them is harder than she first thought.
In 100 KILO STERNE,the struggle with fat acceptance is mostly internal. Loïs is so invested in her dream, that she hates herself for her physical shortcomings. Even though she has a supportive family and teachers who see and promote her talent at physics, in her mind it is meaningless in the face of her not achieving her dream. In contrast, Juliette is more blasé about her weight for majority of her film and it isn’t until her classmates cruelly throw it in her face at a moment of emotional vulnerability that she starts feeling insecure. Despite the differences of internal and external pressures, both girls must find a way to accept their own physical differences and learn to love themselves again despite what others say. At the end of the day, Loïs will likely not be an astronaut, but that does not mean she won’t achieve great success, and Juliette might not attract shallow, attractive boys, but with confidence she can gain the respect and admiration of her peers. The key to success in both of their stories is to not let the potential for failure lead to self-destruction, because at the end of the day you have to accept and love yourself in order to lead a fulfilling life.