Never would I thought that I would enjoy a coming-of-age movie that had one of the weirdest twists of all—a young veterinarian student struggling with her craving for human flesh. Before watching the film, I thought I would be scared out of my mind with the gore and jump scares that a normal horror movie would entail. But Raw had that eerie ambiance and familiar charm that leaves you wanting more.
First, one of the most noteworthy things was the acting. Garance Marillierwas excellent in portraying the life of Justineso smoothly that the audience tends to forget that this is a work of fiction and would never happen in real life. It was through her subtle reactions and genuine ways of responding to a situation that made people think, in some strange way, that they may see themselves in her. The cannibalism aside, Justineis relatable in the sense that she just wants to fit in, make her parents proud, and find her tribe in college. People are exposed to a lot of things during this time, and “going with the flow” is just one of the coping mechanisms that we see here, even though we learn that it is bad to repress these things and keep these scary thoughts to ourselves.
The chemistry between the different actors worked so well. Having Alexia, her sister, and Adrien, her roommate and close friend,as the supporting characters brought different perspectives and voices to the story. Alexiasort of acted as the devil’s advocate in a sense that she made her do things she wouldn’t want to—in order to “enjoy life more”. Adrien, on the other hand, was very supportive and caring towards her even though he didn’t understand what she was going through at first. Putting the two together with Justine, someone so passive and agreeable, made a very interesting trio.
Lastly, coming out of the movie, aside from having to process just exactly what happened throughout all the gory and “WTF” moments, it made me think more about life and freedom. The last scene, where the father revealed to Justine that her mom was actually a cannibal, paired together with the fact that they were raised to be vegetarian, made an interesting juxtaposition. Perhaps the movie is a lesson to both parents and children that are about to depart from their homes and go off into college, or experience the real world for the first time. That no matter how much you try to shield your child from the “bad things”, or the truth, it will find its way to them no matter what. And once this freedom is tasted by them who was once sheltered, and deprived of it, it will leave them wanting more and even be unable to control the craving.
Whether you choose to look at the film in a literal or a figurative sense, a lot of praise needs to be given to Raw. It disturbs you, but you can’t look away. It’s about cannibalism, but it’s also so much more. You can’t help but root for the characters even though what they’re doing is completely wrong and out of the realms of what is morally correct to do. Yet Ducournau gives us a show while breaking the norms of what a coming-of-age/horror/drama film should be.