Relative Happiness (2014)

dir. Deanne Foley

Lexy is a woman. She’s also FAT! She owns a B&B in Nova Scotia. She is also FAT! She needs to find a date to her sister’s wedding, but of course no one will date her, because she’s FAT! In case you forgot for a split-second, remember – she is also FAT! This is the central focus of Relative Happiness, so called because it focuses primarily on Lexi’s poor relationships with her family and how pressured she feels about her size next to them. But the movie itself barely seems to be on Lexi’s side. It wouldn’t matter remotely if Lexi truly were a fat woman, but she’s not, really – she’s the fake kind of fat used in films and TV where a woman is marginally larger than model size and is therefore cast as obese. Still, the movie throws her an agonising story arc of misunderstood affections, and also lots of cake. It masquerades as empowering, but Relative Happiness is just as insulting and offensive as the culture it claims to criticise.

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