'Raw' is sexy, thrilling, and the best film of 2017.
The debut film from French writer/director Julia Ducournau follows a young freshman named Justine as she enters veterinary school. The veterinary school is notorious for its annual traditions of hazing, involving mysterious midnight raves, the consumption of raw meats, and the general embarrassment of its incoming freshman. When Justine, who had a strictly vegetarian upbringing, is introduced to meat for the first time during a hazing ritual, an uncontrollable craving for meat begins to cultivate. For Justine, the answer to the question displayed on the films' poster, 'What are you hungry for?' may or may not eventually result in a hunger for food of the human variety.
As the movie progresses, Justine's character struggles with a lot of the same things that a typical sheltered freshman student would struggle with, and the film begins to brilliantly parallel a traditional college experience with that of becoming a cannibal. She struggles with the initial shame of trying something she's not supposed to for the first time, she is afraid of being different or what her family will think of her, and she doesn't quite fully understand herself or the world around her yet. These fears and struggles are things that we've all felt before, and Garance Marillier's performance, along with fantastic direction by Ducournau help ground the film in a harsh reality, which tricks us into relating in such an unexpected way. Even as Justine’s actions have more violent consequences, we understand her motivation, and can’t help but cheer her on.
After nearly 6 viewings, 'Raw' is just as shocking, gut-wrenching, and thought-provoking for me as it was for the very first time. It's every bit as compelling as massive films such as 'Dunkirk' or 'Baby Driver' and tells a fantastic personal story that we can all relate to. Don't let the subtitles scare you away, this movie is well worth the read.