I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie as bloody, graphic, and as the movie suggests – “raw”. The film, which is clearly not meant for the squeamish nor the faint hearted, is a story of a young girl who develops a desire for raw meat and ventures on a journey to find out who she really is. From being grown up in a strict vegetarian family; Mom nearly freaks out after seeing a bit of beef along with the mash potatoes near her family. she quickly discovers her cravings for raw meat after being forced to eat a raw organ during a sorority night, and the selected meals become quickly off-the-menu and very very bloody.
At the start of the film, despite the warnings of the title of the film, I really had no idea where the movie was heading for. I should have taken the hint when the mother freaked out for having meat near the family, but I did not. To be honest, I found the scene where she was forced to eat a raw duck kidney bad enough, so when she ate her older sister’s finger, you could have imagined the horror. I thought the worst part had passed, but when the sisters get into an accident and sees the “course meal” that is laid in front of them, I realized that it was far from over.
Despite feeling half-sick most of the duration of the film, I found the underlying message of the film interesting enough to keep me going. Justine’s realization of the truth behind her diet happened as she started exploring her sexuality as well. I found that the timing of the awakening of her physical desires was a metaphor of how we tend to find out more about ourselves in a new environment such as in Justine’s case, a university. Universities are generally a place where we can do most of the exploring in our early adult lives, and it was clearly something that Justine was doing a plenty of as evident in her solo grind performance in front of the mirror. At home we have to live by certain rules that have been in place since we were little children. This all comes crashing down when we start to exercise our freedom in trying out new ideas.
I also found this film to be very feminist and empowering. While the director chose to use a rather bloody approach, it still is a story about a girl who found out what she wanted, and despite the repercussions she might face from those around her and the society, she still decided to embrace who she was and went for it. To be completely clear, I do not endorse cannibalism. But, I do advocate continuously challenging oppressive social norms, and if that is what the director truly intended the audience to feel, then this is a bloody good film.