Written and directed by Jimmy Weber
Novella McClure is an aspiring actress but for the last three years, her attempts at securing a job, be it a role in television or even a part in a commercial, have been unsucessful. Her best friend Candice urges her to continue working towards her dream but with no money to put food in her cupboards or to pay her rent with, Novella is reaching her wit’s end. Plagued by worries, she begins to chew on herself to feed her insatiable anxiety-induced hunger. As her problems mount up, as does her feeding-frenzy, but as her cry for help begins to go unnoticed, where will this vicious circle end?
Powerful, darkly funny yet deeply sad, EAT is a stunning, stylishly-made movie about one young woman’s failure to cope with the stresses of her downwards-spiralling life. Meggie Maddock takes the lead as Novella McClure, an attractive young woman who wants just one job to get her back on her feet. Despite being in her early 30’s, she feels as though she has to contend with younger girls out there who’ll do anything to get the part, something which fellow serial auditioner Tracy likes to rub her nose in. Instead of following her instincts, she finds herself listening too much to those around her, such as her well-meaning friend Candice (Ali Francis), and her life progressively gets worse which stresses her out even more. Will things ever look up?
A lot of the movie is spent with best friends Novella and Candice and the chemistry between the two is electric. You can tell their friendship is one that goes back years, such is the way they bounce off of one another. Their conversations are often hilarious and they seem to know each other inside out. Candice’s antics provide much of the humour for the duo though she’s not always the best influence to be around, particularly when she’s telling Novella to go for her dreams despite Novella wanting to finally quit and pick her life back up before it slips any further down the drain. Also trying to add a helping hand in her life is Maru Garcia as Eesha, Novella’s friendly landlady. Eesha acts like a mother to Novella, keeping an eye on the troubled young woman. After letting her go three months without paying rent, she’s unhappily forced to serve Novella an eviction notice which only fuels Novella’s anxiety. Despite this, Eesha genuinely cares for her and wants the best for her, in her job and her life.
It takes a lot to make me squirm, even from a gore point of view, but EAT managed to make me wince on more than one occasion. The flesh being ripped from the body and chewed upon is hard to stomach at times but bloody kudos to the prosthetic FX team for creating such brilliant effects and to actress Meggie Maddock for getting stuck in and chowing down. Though the scenes are particularly bloody due to the flesh being torn, I would say it’s justified and not in the least bit gratuitous. It fits the story incredibly well and shows how this is an illness that torments Novella and that even though she’s getting some temporary comfort from it, she’d rather avoid it altogether.
EAT is truly an incredible film backed up by stellar performances from all the cast involved, but particularly Meggie Maddock who effortlessly leads the movie. With its slick cinematography and comedy-laced script, it’s an utter pleasure to watch from start to finish. Very rarely does a film make me go “wow!” but this particular movie is certainly one of them. EAT takes you on a rollercoaster journey but no matter which way Novella turns, her destination is the same.
Writer, editor and director Jimmy Weber has achieved so much with this film. It seems that everything included in the movie was meticulously thought about and has purpose. Details such as the score, that signalled the imminent hunger pangs before Novella sunk her teeth into her flesh, had me wriggling with discomfort. If this is the sort of filmmaking Jimmy Weber can produce in his debut feature film, then I’m chomping at the bit to see what he comes up with next.