By Dave B.
Raw (2017, currently on Netflix) is a French-language film that shows a young woman’s journey of self-discovery…into a life of cannibalism. I’ve seen a lot of gruesome and brutal things, both in life and on film. There isn’t much that puts me off-keel for long, positively or negatively. But this movie…I had some sort of severe visceral reaction to it. My fight or flight response nearly always defaults to fight, but while watching Raw, all I could think about was fleeing. And hiding. Perhaps curling up into a ball and whimpering a bit. (There’s a slight, early movie spoiler in the next paragraph, so if you don’t want to know ANYTHING that happens in this movie, skip to paragraph three.)
Look, Raw is about a lot of things: a girl learning about how to be an adult and about her sexuality. Discovering what lengths she’s willing to go to in order to fit in. The development of her friendships. But above all, Raw is about that girl EATING HER OWN OLDER SISTER’S SEVERED FINGER! It took me most of the movie to get over that, to be honest. The thing is…it’s not the cannibalism that bothered me. It’s the cannibalism of a close relative that had me shook. That’s taking a strong taboo in Western societies (cannibalism) and violating it in the most complete way possible.
On most measures, Raw is a good movie. The acting is solid. Writer and director Julia Ducournau did a fantastic job and it wouldn’t surprise me if she goes on to have a unbelievably spectacular career. I even liked the end of the film (a rarity for me), as it really seemed like it fit perfectly and logically with the movie as a whole. I’m reluctantly recommending this movie because it’s just too good not to do so. But I don't SUGGEST watching it. It may stick with you for longer than you would like.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.