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Disfigured (DVD Review)

20 Jul, 2008 By: Anne Sherber


Street 7/29/08
Cinema Libre
$24.95 DVD
Not rated.
Stars Deidra Edwards, Staci Lawrence, Ryan C. Benson.

Two women, both struggling with issues of body image from radically different perspectives, learn to look past each other's flaws and find some measure of acceptance both of themselves and of others in Disfigured.

Lydia (Edwards) is an overweight twentysomething who is searching for a way to be happy with herself. Through her membership in an overweight acceptance group she meets Darcy, an anorexic who tries to join the group because she sees herself as fat.

Although Lydia is initially wary of Darcy, Darcy's strong desire for a female friend eventually breaks down Lydia's resistance. At the same time, Lydia has a brief sexual encounter with an overweight man, Bob, also from her acceptance group. But when it turns out that he is not as emotionally available to her as she had believed, she begins to question all of the assumptions that she has made about herself as an overweight woman in the world.

She makes a bold, if misguided, decision. She asks her new friend to help her become anorexic.

Disfigured touches on subjects that traditionally have been ignored in film. There is a frank sexual scene between Lydia and Bob that is notable for involving an overweight couple, a rarity in modern film.

Almost as unusual are scenes in which Lydia eats — really eats — out of anger and frustration. And the film's central relationship, that between Lydia and Darcy, is difficult and complicated. At the film's end, viewers get the idea that it will remain this way because the characters both are, in addition to being many other things, difficult and complicated.

Disfigured, a small, low budget independent, is not a perfect film. But it is a film that explores new emotional territory in a frank, non-judgmental way and features stunningly brave performances, particularly by Edwards. Those interested in trail-blazing independent dramas will find Disfigured riveting.

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