What You Need To Know:
(L, S, N, NA, O) Approximately 15 obscenities & 7 profanities; extramarital affair implied & abortion implied; and, New Age references in: tarot cards, crystals, palm reading, "centering" devices, "negative energy," & "psychic feeling."
Comfort… Control… Security… Success… Life… Love: EATING. In EATING, a very serious comedy about women and food, 36 of the 38 women who make up the bulimic, anorexic, binging, nibbling, food-addicted cast of the film are in a state of war with their bodies.
On the occasion of her 40th birthday, Helene has decided to throw herself a birthday party at her home and to invite several of her closest friends. Since one of her friends, Kate, has just turned 30, and another, Sadie, is about to turn 50, Helene expands the party to make it a three-way affair, inviting along Kate’s and Sadie’s friends to join in the celebration. Also present is Martine, a house guest of Helene’s from Paris, who is making a documentary for French television on what she describes as “Southern Californian Behavior.”
However, as the party progresses, when the cakes are cut and the slices passed around, Martine discovers, as do we, that not one of the 38 women gathered there will take a bite. Thus, we start to realize that something more significant and meaningful than just a birthday party is taking place….
Slowly, we come to see that as different as these women are from one another, they all share one thing: the unique and powerful role that food plays in each one of their lives. As one woman put it: “Twenty or thirty years ago the secret subject of women was sex… Today, it’s food!”
In a series of intimate encounters that take place throughout the day, interspersed with snippets of Martine’s own mini-interviews with the guests, this vast and various array of women sometimes comically, but always candidly, reveal their attitudes toward life, love, men, and each other. They also reveal how all these things are affected by and expressed by their attitudes toward eating.
For most, if not all of these women, food helps meet a need in their lives. “Food,” says one woman, “is the only thing I can count on for unconditional love.” Another: “Somehow it made me feel full. There was a big, black hole inside me that could never be filled.” However, ultimately, the fulfillment is fleeting, and the women are left feeling empty.
Many of these women have had struggles with their fathers and the men in their lives. Moreover, in a society that places so much emphasis on physical beauty, where thin is good and fat is bad, where we’ve had glimpses of hundreds of beautiful faces and figures over the years on TV and magazine covers, it’s no wonder that we fall into the trap of measuring ourselves against worldly standards.
As Christians, however, we are called to base our identities on the Bible, not on what we have woven for ourselves out of the fabric of our society. Charm and external beauty have nothing to do with the qualities the Lord seeks to develop more fully in our hearts. I Peter 3 speaks of an “inner beauty” dwelling in the “inmost center” of a woman’s being as the kind of beauty that never develops wrinkles or gray hair.
Peter also speaks of the “imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit that is precious in the sight of God” and is to reside in the “hidden person of the heart.” It is a beauty that becomes more radiant over the years, even as the body ages. No amount of cosmetic surgery, dieting, expensive clothing, exercising, make-up, or hair coloring can create the kind of beauty to which Peter refers. The external things will perish and become worthless compared with the glory of God residing in the heart of a woman transformed by the unconditional love of Jesus Christ.
The central reality in our lives must rely upon accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and the finished work of the cross. As God heals our hearts, so He desires to heal all our hurts. By accepting His forgiveness and facing the way we treat our bodies through the food we choose to eat, we can learn to accept our heavenly Father’s design for our lives. “I am worth caring for” is an appropriate response to the unconditional love of Jesus. We can know that we are loved and thus stop trying to prove that we are lovable.
The film doesn’t so much progress as dawdle, hang out, and generally lollygag around.
EATING is a strangely entertaining series of captions to a drama that is played out in the guts of the women of Los Angeles (and elsewhere). However, the film does offer an unusual insight into some of the dilemmas that women face. How distressing that answers are looked for in New Age crystals instead of in Jesus Christ.
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