I am so excited and blessed that my dear friend Barbara Multer-Wellin and I had a chance to meet two absolutely amazing women–3-time Olympian Cheryl Haworth and extraordinary documentary filmmaker Julie Wyman before the screening of their movie Strong! What an awesome film! (I am trying for the WR for the most superlatives in one blog post ever, so work with me here.) It is such a joy when you meet famous people who are so warm and down to earth and funny. We laughed our heads off! And I do want to give a shout out for the film. I’ve seen it at least 4 or 5 times now (I’ve lost count) and it seriously gets better every time I watch it. The film is beautifully shot and really portrays Cheryl’s strength, sense of humor and well-grounded sense of self.
Part of the sense of self that Cheryl portrays in the film is a sense of ambiguity in her feelings about her physical appearance. I want to applaud both Cheryl and Julie for allowing us to see that ambiguity. During the panel discussion last night, Julie spoke about the great temptation to have the movie be a message and have everything tied up in a neat bow at the end. But life rarely works that way, and the openness of both Julie and Cheryl in allowing us to see that struggle for body acceptance is one of the most powerful things about the film. Self acceptance, especially when one does not meet certain societal standards for body size and shape is hard. The film shows us how hard it is without offering simplistic, preachy solutions. I found that deeply meaningful.
So for heaven’s sake my little Chicklettes, go see this film! If you’re in Southern California, you can join me for a free screening followed by a panel discussion in Long Beach at 6 PM on May 29. And there are still a few other screenings scheduled throughout the country. Or at least plan on watching it on PBS when it airs in July. Just don’t miss it!
The Fat Chick