Are You Living in Faith or Just Hoping on a Fat Chance (Movie Review)

Billie Jo YoumansBy Billie Jo Youmans7 Minutes

Fat Chance is your typical low-budget Christian movie with amateur actors—but don’t make the mistake of doubting that it has any real worth. This team of faith-filled amateurs delve deep into the truths of God’s Word and help you do the same. Allison knew all about living in faith, but she didn’t believe God’s Word was true when it came to her own self-worth. Instead, she lived by what she could see—not even hoping on a Fat Chance. 

Allison (Sarah LeJeune) is a young dental hygienist who had felt the scorn and limitations of obesity much of her life. Her rejections ran the gamut from deliberate cruelty to immature disloyalty to contemptuous disregard. The truth that she was fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) did nothing to dispel the pain of dismissal by her peers. Without hope, she turned to a lie that nearly cost her everything.

Certain she didn’t have a Fat Chance of ever finding the man of her dreams, Allison created an online dating profile with a picture of her friend, Kate. Soon the lie took on a life of its own. In a made-for-movie twist of fate, a guy Allison knows and likes, finds the profile and initiates a friendship. His repeated pleas for a video chat create a dilemma. Convinced the truth will end the friendship (online and in the real world), Allison dodges the requests. Without giving too much of a spoiler, the old adage “the truth will find you out” proves true yet again.

But the real beauty of Fat Chance is this: it’s based on a real young lady who loved the Lord, battled obesity, and learned the reality of faith’s overcoming power.

Allison did what many believers do. She talked about faith—even taught others about it – but she bought into the world’s way of life: living by sight. She settled for seeing the image in the mirror (and in the eyes of others) instead of looking deeper to find her identity in Christ. At the end of Fat Chance, Kate sums up the heart of the issue when she says to Justin, “… which do you want more—the picture or the girl?”

Life calls each of us to grapple with that question—not always in the context of obesity. But each of us must decide: will we settle for a plastic image of the good life or press deeper for the abundant life Jesus gives (John 10:10b)?

Digging Deeper

A surface view of the good life focuses on physical beauty and the material world—nice clothes, cool cars, and luxurious homes. It fails to see the things that really matter.

Such a myopic view of life is why we can sing confidently, ‘Faith is the victory that overcomes the world’ on Sunday morning but is undone the next day by a fender bender. In Fat Chance, the issues are much deeper and long-lasting than a traffic incident, but the heart of the matter is the same. We fix our eyes on what is seen and forget the eternal things that are at stake. In our heads, we know Jesus gives us victory, but in our hearts, failure and frustration shove Jesus aside.

The Christian’s goal is to live by faith, not by sight. There are plenty of contrary circumstances and unpleasant people to see every day—focusing on them derails us from the good plans and purposes of God (Ephesians 2:10; Jeremiah 29:11). Walking by faith in the word of God requires intentionality, effort, discipline, and endurance.

In fact, faith is like a muscle that must be regularly exercised. In Philippians 2:12, Paul wrote, “… work out your faith with fear and trembling.” Faith is a gift from God, but we must put the gift to work to see it reach its fullest potential. Believing is not enough—it must be mixed with action.

Sometimes waiting wears us down, though, doesn’t it? In Fat Chance, Allison turned to online dating when her faith seemingly produced nothing. All of us can relate to faltering faith. It’s hard to hold on to faith when the things you hope for don’t materialize. Where do we find hope? In the same place we find faith.

According to Romans 15, we find encouragement and endurance from the Word of God. Both are given as a gift from the God of Hope. Friends play an important role in helping us endure in our walk of faith. We need to immerse ourselves in the Word of God and surround ourselves with the people of God.

Faith Produces Abundant Living

The real story behind Fat Chance has even more of a fairy tale ending than the movie. In real life, Allison and Justin married and have three children. Allison lost 250 pounds and saw the truths of Scripture come to life. When she began to live in the reality of who God created her to be, her life became all that Jesus promised. The Word of God isn’t magic—it’s truth. When you walk in truth, you live with wisdom. And wisdom proves truth to be exactly what God declares (Matthew 11:9)!

Jesus said, “… I have come that they might have life and have it in all its fullness” (John 10:10b).

Are you living in faith or hoping on a Fat Chance?