Four out of Five Dangers
(DM) — Who put on the most weight for a role? Sylvester Stallone achieved 40 pounds. He was beaten by Russell Crowe with over 60. DeNiro gained 60. Jared Leto gained 67. It’s claimed Vincent DiNofrio gained the most. He came close to 70 pounds.
Yet pop trivia has the question of what actor lost the most weight for a movie all wrong. Try it. Search What Actor Lost The Most Weight In A Movie.
Every article is wrong. Results of who lost the most weight for a role will offer up actors who lost weight for a role. Few of those actors lost a great deal of weight during filming. McConaughey lost 40 pounds. Christian Bale dropped over 50 pounds leaving him emaciated. Somehow Tom Hanks didn’t appear as deathly in losing 55.
What Actor Lost the Most Weight For A Movie?
That honor goes to Carmine Famiglietti. Carmine Famiglietti lost over 100 pounds during the production of Lbs. That enough may be reason to watch Lbs. Don’t make that the reason.
Lbs is one of the few films where an actor loses weight for a film rather than put on weight.
How nice it is that the story of Lbs is touching and compelling enough that it’s not simply an exhibition of determination by an actor to morph into a role. Lbs is meta. Lbs is real life imitating art imitating real life.
A Subtle Endearing Winner
We go to the movies to be entertained. Some are inspirational. Many films we connect with because we have traveled the same road as the characters we see. Lbs, is a movie with these qualities. You may think that I’m talking about a blockbuster hit, a must see film that already has media hype. Lbs enjoys none of the above. It doesn’t have the backing of a major film label; it’s just a small indie film that almost got lost in history; good for you it has not.
A Story Of An Overweight Out Of Work Actor
Neil is an overweight New Yorker living with his parents in Brooklyn. Not exactly a protagonist you get behind. His journey draws you to him. Neil suddenly has a heart attack where a chain of events bring him to the reality that his health and eating disorder impact everyone that love him.
A heart attack alone is reason to change. Neil’s hardship goes beyond a typical reaction to an obstacle story. It’s more real than that. It takes more than a heart attack for Neil to see what he is doing to himself and others. His guilt and shame of his inability to be self-disciplined in his eating doesn’t manifest immediately. His eating disorder soon leads to more disaster in his life.
Only now does he make a decision many of us wish we had the guts to make. Neil makes a lifestyle choice. He knows that the temptations of his city life are more than he can handle and as strange as it may seem, he feels the answer is to move away for however long it takes to lose weight.
You may feel you already know the end. His journey is not what you would expect. Neil’s journey is the reward of the film. A story like this required an ending that carried a message the journey never ends. In Lbs — for the character Neil, the end is the beginning of a new journey. You feel good for him as you walk away from it.
In The Real World You Get No Support
Lbs underscores the dilemma most people with an eating disorder face. For every contestant on a show like Biggest Loser where a support system and motivation is in play at all times, there are 10,000 more men and women that don’t get a trainer. Those 10,000 people are left to try and lose weight without any support system whatsoever.
Lbs Is The Most Accurate Portrayal Of An Overweight Person
With more than half (some say two thirds) the American public being overweight, Lbs takes on the subject of weight loss from perhaps the most honest perspective of any film made on the subject of losing weight. More important is that Lbs doesn’t interpret the lives of fat people; it gives it to you in the most real terms you will find.
Neil expresses the disorder of eating more accurately than any character has yet to do in film. This film helps everyone battling a demon like weight (eating disorders) and humanizes it so that each of us can truly empathize with the emotions tied to it. To think this is only a film about weight loss would be to miss an important component in its message. We all have demons, we all have challenges. Each of us has room to appreciate Neil’s battle and latch on to him in hope as the story progresses.
You could label Lbs an inspirational film about losing weight. It’s great achievement isn’t watching the lead character shed almost half his body weight during the production of the movie. Lbs real achievement is in communicating the real pain, the real feelings and inner workings of an overweight person.
No Five Minute Inspirational Change Montage
Neil is never depicted as a Rocky type with fierce indomitable determination. Instead you see him fail repeatedly as we all do in real life. Yet for as many times as you may fail, we can all learn a lesson in Neil’s story which is, don’t quit, get to the finish — or as he expresses it, “Monday came.”
To say this is all we experience through Neil’s eyes is mistake. A few awkward edits in the film do little harm in communicating Neil’s point of view. He’s a man with the most simplest of desires, to be accepted — not as a fat man but as a fellow member of society. He would just love to be able to sit on the beach with his shirt off and not feel like everyone is looking at him in a negative way.
There is no preaching here. It’s not about thin people versus fat people and how we need to accept each other. Neil heads down a road he never wants to go back on. He has to learn how to live in his new skin, literally. This is a new perspective filmgoers experience in Lbs.
Beauty is Only Skin Deep
The film’s raw and flawed filmmaking keep you grounded throughout Lbs. Despite the fact most us may already know that Carmine Famiglietti (Neil) lost over 100 Lbs in production, Lbs is no documentary. Yet knowing the lead actor actually went through two years of his life to reach the same goal as the character in the story, you can’t help but want to get up in the isle and cheer for this guy. And yes. Now you know. Two years.
Lbs, doesn’t preach, it doesn’t sell. It doesn’t pretend to have the answer to weight loss other than to prove ultimately each of us have to show self discipline in order to get from point A to point B.
This film was director Matt Bonifacio’s first feature film. Almost every decision he made in production was a home run, from the soundtrack which was key in my opinion to cinematography being spot on.
If there is anything to criticize it’s from the technical point of view in editing. But overlooking these flaws is easy. The story establishes characters we can relate to, understand, appreciate and pull for early on. Bonificio established just the right balance in every character, from Neil’s parents that ‘mean well’ but in reality are enablers to Neil’s bad habits, to the women Neil encounters.
Few films wrap their endings up in a perfect bow. We send Neil off into his future with a clear understanding that his journey has just begun, but it’s a better journey now because he made the right decisions in his life. But you’ll want to experience his journey first hand. You must see Lbs. Once you watch Lbs, you will want answers to Carmine’s life outside of Lbs.
Did Carmine Famiglietti Really Lose 100 Pounds For A Movie?
Actually Carmine lost closer to 150 pounds for the movie Lbs. Check out Lbs Facebook Page to learn more from fans in the Lbs community.
To learn more about the story, check out my interview with Carmine Famiglietti who portrayed Neil in Lbs, view the interview.