Movies about Obesity – Obese Films

Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 8:19 am

With the number of overweight people in the United States continuing to rise, there’s never been a more appropriate time to look at movies about obesity. Of course, as you might imagine, most of these obese movies take a rather sympathetic look at those grappling with size issues. If you’re a large cinema fan, you might find these films easy to relate to, and even thin viewers should enjoy the solid storytelling and well-rounded characters (okay, I couldn’t resist).

All of the movies about obesity listed below can be found at Netflix, the nation’s leading online movie rental service. Signing up with Netflix is a snap, and there are multiple pricing plans designed to meet budgets of every size.

Shallow Hal (2001) – Jack Black stars as Hal, a fellow hung up on outward appearances. But after Tony Robbins works a little of his magic, Hal only sees the inner beauty in those around him, leading him to fall for Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow). While he perceives a thin hottie with the kind of figure that makes other females jealous, everyone else–including his shallow and perplexed pal Mauricio (Jason Alexander)–sees a morbidly obese young woman. All manner of hijinxs result, and this sweet romantic comedy is deeper than most.

Marty (1955) – Ernest Borgnine picked up a well-deserved Best Actor Oscar for his role as a lonely Bronx butcher who finds love with a plain teacher. If you’ve ever felt ugly or alone, I can guarantee that this film will speak to you on an emotional level. The film also won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Only the Lonely (1991) – With the Roy Orbison song of the same name prominently featured, Only the Lonely stars John Candy as a 38-year-old Chicago cop who’s still single and lives with his mother (Maureen O’Hara). When he falls for a funeral home worker (Ally Sheedy), his mother and friends (including John Belushi) come out of the woodwork to advise him against the relationship. A sweet romance featuring Candy at his most charming. Written and directed by Chris Columbus, with John Hughes serving as producer.

Otis (2008) – While this is one of the only obese movies on our list where you don’t root for the main character, overweight serial killer Otis (Bostin Christopher) is still depicted in a somewhat sympathetic light. Belittled by his brother Elmo (Kevin Pollack in a great role) and stuck working at a dead-end pizza delivery job, Otis passes his free time by abducting teenage girls and living out high school fantasies. When his most recent victim (Ashley Johnson) escapes, her family (including Daniel Stern, Jared Kusnitz, and Illeana Douglas) comes looking for revenge. Jere Burns is a real hoot as an incompetent FBI agent, and the entire film deftly blends horror with black comedy.

Sugarbaby (1985) – Marianne is a lonely 38-year-old woman (Marianne S├Ągebrecht) living in the big city. Unhappy with her life and addicted to sweets, her prospects look increasingly grim. But that’s when she sees a young subway driver (Eisi Gulp) and immediately falls head over heels for the handsome fellow. Will she win his heart, or will Marianne meet with yet another disappointment?

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Real Women Have Curves (2002) – Based on the play by Josefina Lopez, Real Women Have Curves brought America Ferrera into the spotlight, allowing her to win the role in television’s Ugly Betty. In this film she stars as Ana Garcia, an L.A. teen dealing with images of self-esteem and dreaming of moving out of the barrio and attending Columbia. George Lopez shines in a rare non-comedic role.

Fatso (1980) – One of the rare movies to deal exclusively with the issue of obesity, Fatso stars Dom DeLuise as a middle-aged Italian-American who tries to lose weight following the death of an overweight relative. In the process, he falls for Lydia (Candice Azzara) and gains the self-confidence needed to make positive changes in his life. Anne Bancroft stars as DeLuise’s sister, and she also wrote and directed.

Super Size Me (2004) – Morgan Spurlock got his start with this documentary about eating nothing but McDonald’s food for one month. Not surprisingly, his health goes rapidly downhill and his weight balloons. McDonald’s stopped offering the Super Size option following the film’s release, although they claimed the events were not related (yeah, right). The subject matter is slanted–like most modern documentaries–but it’s still a fascinating look at the rising tide of obesity in America and how fast food franchises target children who are unaware of the negative health effects.

Thinner (1996) – Based on the novel by Stephen King, Thinner deals with Billy Halleck, an obese lawyer (Robert John Burke) who runs over a gypsy woman while getting a blowjob from his wife. The dead woman’s enraged father places a curse on Billy, and he soon finds himself shedding pounds at a rapid rate. Thus begins a race against the clock, as Billy attempts to have the curse lifted before he wastes away and dies. Also starring Joe Mantegna and Kari Wuhrer.

Fat Girl (2001) – A shocking French film about an overweight girl and her older, beautiful sister. While the two vacation with their parents on the French seaside, an Italian law student sets about taking the innocence of the older sibling. Offering frank depictions of teenage sexuality, Fat Girl also includes a what-the-hell climax that comes out of left field. Banned in Ontario for a couple of years.

Whether you’re Jared Fogle from Subway or one of those people who models underwear in the Sunday newspaper ads, I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of movies about obesity. We do get a commission if you decide to check them out at Netflix, but all proceeds go right back into the site (with a few dollars earmarked for Coke and Oreos).

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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 5th, 2010 at 8:19 am and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “Movies about Obesity – Obese Films”

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August 5, 2010

Tommy Salami

I’ve also heard “Heavy” was good.
Fatso is one of my favorites, I reviewed it a while back.

August 5, 2010


Good call on Marty. It’s easy to forget Borgnine as a serious actor. As he got older he became a bit typecast, but back in the day he was a serious force.

Does Lust in the Dust count as an obesity film?

August 5, 2010


Yeah, I’d say anything with Divine would technically count.

November 21, 2010

Chris F.

I have heard that “200 Pounds Beauty” is a decent flick that involves obesity. Its a foreign film, not available on Netflix.


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