What makes Jeanie Finlay a particularly gifted and empathic documentary film-maker is her willingness to allow her subjects the leeway to shape their own stories, to open themselves freely and voluntarily to the camera. The British director’s refreshingly light touch is evident in her previous film, Seahorse (2019), about a pregnant transgender man’s experience of parenthood. And it’s equally notable here, in this compassionate account of Aubrey Gordon’s journey from anonymous fat activist blogger to acclaimed podcaster, author and public figure.
While Finlay’s camera shadows the film’s charismatic subject for key events, much of the picture is drawn from Gordon’s self-recorded video diary, in which she reacts to the highs – the offer of a book deal – and lows – a continual trickle of cyberbullying and harassment culminating in her being doxed. It helps that Gordon is a dream of a subject: funny, frank and eminently likable, she challenges preconceptions and prejudices about fatness with wit and grace.