Food And Death In “The Wonder” – A Film Review (No Spoilers)

Photo by Pixabay on

So it has been a while since I have done one of my reviews.

Usually it is a book review, and though “The Wonder” was a book before a Netflix film, I have not read it yet.

I found it fascinating when I watched it the other night. Especially all of the eating that takes place in the film.

It is significant that there are so many scenes of preparing food, and consuming food, in a film set after the Great Famine in Ireland. It is also a film which centres around the fasting of a young girl.

Food is really what “The Wonder” is about.

Food and Death specifically, and isn’t it interesting to take a good hard look at the link.

In this modern age, in the western world, many of us have never felt true hunger.

Perhaps it is this luxury that enables us to focus so intently on our diet. Whether by trying to maintain our weight, choosing to be vegan, or becoming aware of intolerances like gluten or diary.

After a famine, food any food is welcome, though food any food is also viewed as sacred, hence the “Manna from heaven” that the fasting girl maintains is all she has eaten for four months.

Food holds an almost mystical quality in this film, and this girl’s seeming ability to do without is awe inspiring, in a land in which so many people perished for need of it.

The novel’s author – Emma Donoghue (author of “The Room”) based the story on historical accounts of fasting women, she muses in an interview about the reasons why we may be entranced by women in particular being able to go without food.

I see this kind of woman revered in society today. How often we look up to women for being thin, or not being able to finish a meal – we still view it as dainty, feminine.

Food is historically the only thing that a person, again specifically a woman, has complete control over in her life. The real reason why the girl is fasting highlights this.

So if women restrict their eating or indeed eat to excess, are women also somehow dying?

Well yes, both being extremely underweight, and being extremely overweight is detrimental to our health, but it is so much more than this.

Though the world has undoubtedly changed and the restrictions placed on women decreasing, we are still bound by expectations on our appearance.

Controlling what she eats, is also how a woman controls how she is seen in life.

So back to the film – watch it, or re-watch it and watch all they ways in which we see food portrayed, from hidden to chickens walking around the house.

Watch how the nurse is shamed for eating.

Listen to how the fear of not having enough, is reflected in low levels of self worth.

Our relationship with food is complicated as a species. in the same way our relationship to death is.

Much love Txx.

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