Family dinners offer dark lessons

Horror films that focus specifically on food and food-related issues have been in abundance in the past few years.

Platform (2020) and Eid (2021) both provided amazing gastronomic-based explorations for the class. Peter Strickland Gourmet Flux Food is used to create dark satire about performance art.

There were others but so far few addressed the obvious: food, social expectations, and body image. Writer/director Peter Hengel has done just that and set high standards for those who follow him. family dinner It is a rich and complex part of the slow burn that comes from the naturally expected horrors, nonetheless horrors, and worthy of both fans of the genre and those who enjoy a great character study.

Simi (Nina Catlin) is a plus-size teen torn between her desire to lose weight and a heightened sense of self-acceptance. She hopes that visiting her Aunt Claudia (Pia Herziger) at her remote country house for the Easter holidays can help. Her aunt is a celebrity dietitian and author and Simi hopes to find the motivation she needs.

Upon her arrival, she finds herself caught up in a hostile family dynamic, as she must contend with the hostility of her cousin Phillips (Alexander Sladick) and the shame of Claudia Stefan’s friend (Michael Pink), who takes her under his wing in an increasingly unpleasant way.

Her aunt Claudia offers her help. What at first appears to be a gentle gesture is actually the start of something bigger, something that will force Simi to take real control of her life.

Critics may be inclined to describe Nina Catlin’s performance as gritty, as if her performance as Simi is first and foremost about confronting an audience who may have opinions about her weight. Better descriptions may include observations such as insightful, sympathetic, and multilayered.

In Catelyn’s hands, Simi is a fully aware person who grows, develops and discovers her own agency. Catelyn bolsters the cast headed by Pia Herziger in an equally powerful performance as Claudia, whose own motives for helping Simi become clearer as the film progresses.

The film takes place in the run-up to the Easter holiday. But instead of getting caught up in the dirty rhetoric about something as complex as religious faith, Hengl uses metaphors loosely. Rabbits are caught. family pool.

Dark celebration, sacrifice, and unholy attempts at resurrection become the backdrop to a story that pits Simi’s journey toward self-acceptance against the intensity of a perfectionist Claudia that threatens to swallow everyone up. You have found out where family dinner He was going before he got there. but it does not matter.

The movie was well written, especially the good direction, and its acting perfectly. The panic of the building that finally transcends the narrative erupts into an expected violence. Even when Simi faces the matter, I can’t help but think that Claudia, for all her obsession, left the teen with a powerful spell against the soul-eating critic.

There is an implicit question here. What do we hope to fill our void? food? family? family dinner She suggests answers like these come from within. I will say no more than to warmly recommend it family dinner For anyone who thirsts for intelligent, empathy-driven horror.

The film enjoyed its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.

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