Secret Society | Chicago Reader

Secret Society

In both theme and locale this 2000 British comedy recalls other recent imports about working-class folk overcoming adversity through resourcefulness and solidarity (The Full Monty, Brassed Off), but it also taps into body-image politics, as a chubby young woman (Charlotte Brittain) empowers herself through sumo wrestling. Put upon by a lazy and paranoid husband, the quietly determined heroine gets a factory job to pay the bills and joins a clique of overweight women led by their boss (Annette Badland), who's found enlightenment in Zen Buddhism and physical fulfillment in the revered Japanese sport. Director Imogen Kimmel, who cowrote the script with Catriona McGowan, gets a few chuckles from the women's Oprah-like training sessions, and though these tend to clash with the kitchen-sink realism of the protagonist's married life, the film coasts along on a series of wry, observant moments. 89 min.

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