Hi everyone, Bryan here…
‘RAW‘ made me remember why I love movies. I can’t wait for you all to feast your eyes and stomachs on first time French director Julia Ducournau’s masterpiece in cinema, simply titled ‘RAW‘. Julia takes an overly done genre trope (cannibalism) and completely makes it fresh, organic, and ready to serve to the masses in a very beautiful, elegant, and most disturbing way in which a young woman is on a coming-of-age quest in her life and discovers her sexual side as well as a new appetite.
This film hits on some real primal emotions that I did not think I had in me and had me completely hypnotized from start to finish in this well-paced magnificent movie. The film follows the smart and shy young woman Justine (Garance Marillier) as she enters her very first day of university where everyone is learning to become veterinarian. At her first party, she runs into her older sister Alexia (Ella Rumpf), who is also studying to be a veterinarian and who wants to both look after her younger sister and torment her.
The older students certainly haze the incoming freshman, by making them do some grueling tasks, including throwing animal blood over all of them and making them eat raw animal organs. It’s a difficult job for Justine to eat the animal organs, since she and her whole family have been vegan for all their lives, but in order to fit in, she is more or less forced to take that first taste of raw meat. Turns out, she loves it. Perhaps too much as she craves more and more of that raw meat.
At the same time, Justine is undergoing her sexual awakening, whether it be with her gay male roommate or someone else in the school. The parallels of both her food and sexual appetite are done in the most subtle and gracious ways, and at no time do you ever dislike Justine or her sister Alexia. On the contrary, these characters are so well “fleshed” out that you want to be friends with them. As the film plays out, Ducournau (who also wrote the screenplay) keeps delivering surprises at every corner, keeping our minds racing, stomachs rumbling, and story flowing.
The relationship between Alexia and Justine is simply fantastic. These two sisters are so real and one of the themes of the film is loyalty and family, which in no matter what obstacle comes your way, you stick together. Mariellier and Rumpf turn in exquisite performances and this being Ducournau’s first film – I can’t imagine how amazing her second foray into filmmaking will be. The practical effects of gore here are so realistic, that you might second guess yourself as to whether or not anyone was really harmed during the film. That’s how good it is. ‘RAW‘ is one of those films that comes around once every ten years and you shouldn’t miss it.