Usually you will find me defending made for TV movies as whilst not up to cinematic standards still often achieve what they set out to do but I cannot defend "Hunger Point" because it just doesn't work. The annoying thing is that I don't know who the movie is meant to work for because we have a story told from the prospective of Frannie as her sister has an eating disorder and we watch Frannie's problems and those of her parents which burden her turning what seems to be a movie about anorexia into one about a dysfunctional family. That is not the only problem because the styling is distant; the characters end up extreme cliches and the actual narrative jumps too much taking us from one moment of crisis to the next.
As a young child Frannie Hunter was over weight and her mum Marsha made sure she knew it, taking her to a slimmers club and making her diet causing her naturally slim sister Shelly to feel left out. But years later as Frannie does her best to control her weight it is Shelly who suffers from the secret eating disorder till she admits herself to hospital seeking help. This puts pressure on the entire Hunter household especially Frannie who is also aware that her parents marriage is on the verge of being over.
I've been close friends with two anorexic people in my time and as I watched "Hunger Point" I thought to myself that this was going to be a movie told from my sort of perspective. And at times it was because whilst the character of Shelly seems to be extreme in her behaviour as if she is the embodiment of every anorexic trait those traits are shown, from the mood swings, the OCD, the cutting up of food into tiny bits and that sense of trying to control something in her life. Now whilst this felt extreme in the number of traits I was accepting because I though that maybe this was going to highlight issues so that others can pick up of these traits and signals.
And then we get the other side because we also see how Shelly's eating disorder affects those in her family from her mother's denial to her father's feeling of helplessness to Frannie feeling jealous at the attention Shelly receives. Again it feels like every trait you can imagine is thrown in to make every character an extreme as if they are screaming out for the watcher to be able to associate with them. And again I was accepting because whilst extreme the jealousy of the sister was something I saw and the denial of a parent again was something which I have encountered.
But the trouble is that "Hunger Point" then seems to just go off on a tangent and rather than focussing on the subject of anorexia basically gives us dysfunctional family to the extreme. So we have marriage breakdowns, affairs, depression, hate and whole lot more which ends up making this one hell of a muddled movie which doesn't seem to have a message other than to say every one is screwed up in some way.
This isn't helped by the fact that as already mentioned the characters seem extremes with every cliche under the sun associated with them making them end up coming across as fake. This has the knock on effect of not only making each character unliveable but also unnatural and far too often the dialogue and the way people interact just doesn't ring true. As such whilst "Hunger Point" features Barbara Hershey, Christina Hendricks and Susan May Pratt these are not good performances because of the characters.
What this all boils down to is that at times "Hunger Points" does manage to illustrate aspects of anorexia from the traits of those with the eating disorder and also the issues it causes for loved ones. But in trying to encompass everything not only does it end up like we are watching extreme stereotypes but unnatural ones as the story veers towards the general setup of a dysfunctional family.