I recently received a screening copy of the new movie, “The Fat Boy Chronicles“, a story about obesity and bullying based on the book by Diane Lang and Michael Buchanan. the book and the movie are inspired by a true story, which is not hard to believe given that the themes in the movie and I’m sure in the book are shared by many of those that have to deal with bullying due to their weight or other issues that make them different.
This is a “must-see” movie for those teens and young adults who deal with this kind of bullying every day. The story follows the character of Jimmy Winterpack through his first year of High School. When we meet Jimmy in the movie, he has already suffered through the younger years of bullying during elementary and junior high. The ramifications for him are that he is now quiet and reluctant to make any friends, even when another young overweight boy tries to talk with him on one of the first days of school.
During the course of the movie, we see Jimmy deal with some old and some new bullies, including the jocks of the school. But we also watch as Jimmy realizes that he likes one of the other new girls in the school, one who has also dealt with difficulties in her life that had consequences for her. We also watch as Jimmy’s one good friend also has to deal with his life and family issues, helping show how different youth deal with different issue of bullying. A preview of the movie is posted on YouTube and you can watch below.
Through Jimmy’s journals and words you can feel the isolation and pain that he feels due to the bullying he has had to deal with. As the movie builds, Jimmy has an epiphany during a doctor’s visit that he needs to make a life change. Jimmy is also lucky to have both a loving family and strong faith that help keep him grounded and able to seek and get the support and help he needs. This theme in the movie is one that establishes why Jimmy might be able to move forward and overcome the torment from his bullies.
Christopher Rivera does a commendable job in the lead role as Jimmy. I would think it takes a lot of courage to take on this role as the overweight kid being picked on. All of the actors make you believe that this could be happening to them and the bullying moments are close enough to real to make many people cringe watching them. But in the end, the movie has an uplifting theme about our own inner strength and character and that, if you want, you can overcome the things that other people cause us to feel in our lives. I certainly recommend that this movie be shown in schools, in religious institutions, and in communities where bullying is a problem. It can help teach and influence youth to adjust their behavior or reaction to others to both help prevent bullying and help overcome bullying. In truth, we need more books and movies like “The Fat Boy Chronicles” to be made and available to watch and learn from.
You can purchase this movie or book through Amazon or other local retailers and discover the story for yourself. To close this post, here’s a nice interview done on a FOX affiliate with the director and star of the movie.