At a time when it seems everyone could use it, A Matter of Size is such a feel-good movie. Described by the directors as a “dramedy,” you can’t help but walk away loving all the characters.
Poor Herzl, who takes after his VERY hefty deceased father (whose tragic yet comical death is revealed mid-film), has been struggling with his weight all of his life. Berated by his mother, his classmates, strangers, and even his obnoxious, oblivious, and despicable dieting counselor, Herzl discovers his calling with the help of the staff at the Japanese restaurant where he works.
That calling, and the path to Herzl’s self-acceptance, comes when Herzl abandons the diet group for a mawashi (aka “the diaper”) and sumo wrestling. Herzl recruits a hodgepodge of his discontented diet group friends, and the real fun (and work begins).
We LOVED this film. One of Herzl’s sumo pals in the film, Aharon, was played by an Israeli television star, Dvir Benedek. Directors Sharon Maymon and Erez Tadmor chatted with the audience after the film, and shared the story of their efforts to recruit Dvir. Dvir, who we’re guessing, is somewhere between 300 and 350 lbs. in the film, was apparently initially offended by the suggestion that he should costar as a “fat man.” Eventually, he came around — but only with the condition that he be allowed to wear his shirt throughout the filming. However, once Herzl et al disrobed on set, Aharon quickly followed, and the film was on its way.
We’re told that an American re-make of the film is currently in the wings, but we found the current version pretty heartwarming and hilarious. It’s a hoot, and worth every second if you have the chance to check it out. It plays twice more at the SJFF, on August 1 and 8.