Cassie in the Cafeteria

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I’m cheating a little ’cause I’ve seen this scene before, but I find it so moving that I had to comment on it for today’s class.

The first Sid sees of Cassie in the lunchroom scene is a disembodied shot of her hands clutching an apple, or rather, rolling it around nervously. This is foreshadowing to her manipulation of food, almost a sleight of hand that allows her to trick people into thinking that she eats. When discussing the party, she makes sure to mention how fun it was to “throw food around”; her skinny arms flail in a slightly disturbing way. She also reveals a slightly compulsive attitude in her choice to rearrange his french fries before he can continue eating.

I would definitely call this scene shocking, though not in the way one would conventionally use the word. When Sid asks (really just out of curiosity) how she tricks people, her response is almost grave: “I like you, Sid… So I’m going to show you.” When she tugs the plate over to her side of the table, sounds suddenly become prevalent: the rattle of silverware, the squish of fries, eggs, and meat; and of course, her constant, distracting chatter.

As she gets into the act she’s almost delighted in her subterfuge, simultaneously messing with his head and giving him the magician’s secret.

“I’ll keep waving at you until you stop looking at me.”

Cassie doesn’t want to be scrutinized (see the earlier scene in the taxicab), which makes one believe that her eating disorder is due less to desire for a particular body type and more for a sense of control in her chaotic life. But she is also glad for an ally, hence why she lets Sid in on her secret. But the camera doesn’t solely take on Sid’s POV; it acts as the omnipotent third person, observing their back-and-forth: his confusion, her triumph.

What I find most chilling every time I watch this scene is how blasé she is — when she pretends to leave, effectively ending her act, and then sits down again, she wears a proud smile. “A job well done.”

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