Boobs: One Woman’s Search for Perfection (Garden Thieves Pictures, NR)

Boobs 75This film offers a view of plastic surgery often neglected in discussions about it in popular culture.

 

In television and other popular media, discussions of plastic surgery tend to focus on the lurid aspects of the process and/or attempt to serve as cautionary tales, enabling the audience to assume an air of superiority relative to those who have chosen this method to make a change in their appearance. Boobs: One Woman’s Search for Perfection offers something different—a documentary about a woman getting breast enlargement surgery for professional reasons.

The model in question is Precious Muir, a London model who has moved to New York City to further her career. She decides that her breast size is holding her back—she wants to go from a B to a D cup—and invests in plastic surgery to make it happen. It’s a calculated decision, and if that sounds like “Dance Ten, Looks Three” from A Chorus Line, it’s no coincidence. Women are judged on their appearance more than men, and in certain professions there are great advantages to looking a certain way. What nature did not provide, Dr. Shapiro can.

Muir is charming and open and level-headed, and the filmmakers (Jon Bulette and Stone Roberts) had extraordinary access to her during the surgical process and recovery. Seriously, this is not a film for the faint of heart—you get to see the incisions, up close and personal, and observe the not-inconsequential healing process as well. So maybe this is a cautionary tale of sorts, not one that tries to warn adults off deciding to transform their bodies, but delivering the message that plastic surgery is a serious process and should not be chosen lightly.

A natural narrative arc is provided by the process of surgery and recovery, and there are two more arcs as well. One explores Muir’s developing relationship with her boyfriend, and the other is her quest to achieve a professional goal—to be featured in Playboy. The latter feels a bit forced—no model’s career lives and dies by a single publication, after all—but it does give you an idea of the kind of work she’d like to do, and why her concern about her breast size is not based simply on vanity.

Boobs is a small film, tightly focused on one person and a few years of her life. Thankfully, it doesn’t get sidetracked in discussions of the morality of plastic surgery or the objectification of women, both of which would have been really out of place in a film about a model who wants to be featured in a magazine whose key feature is pictures of naked or nearly-naked women. You may not agree with the film’s point of view, or with Muir’s goals, but this film offers a view of plastic surgery often neglected in discussions about it in popular culture.

Boobs is available on both DVD and VOD, and there are no extras on the DVD release. | Sarah Boslaugh

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