This movie was difficult to watch. This was so in the sense of how brutal the story went and how extreme the story progressed. Set in a university setting, it’s relatable if it’s looked at the lens of a coming-of-age movie of a girl learning her ways with new friends and a new setting. This is seen in how the protagonist, Julia, was a virgin in both the metaphorical and material sense. Raw shows the transformation and way of how Julia found herself in this setting – through the imagery of cannibalism.
First, the movie starts of with her having a meal with her family – no protein mashed potato. As a vegetarian, it set the beginning in where she began exploring her curiosity or craving for meat, escalating exponentially as the scenes go by. From entering the medical school, seeing the animals and lunch available, being introduced to the trippy parties and school events, this triggered her spiraling into her discovering herself through her urges and sexuality – feigned through cannibalism. Shown of as an innocent and more quiet or timid girl, she soon enters the wild scene of orgies, college parties, having a crush and having too much to drink, through very grotesque and rather gory segments. While the story develops, she begins to act more rashly, succumbing to the cravings and temptations she has – with either sex or with the hunger. Supporting with Justine’s sister, the stigma of cannibalism was continued by the pair instead of it being treated or handled. This brought major conflicts between the sisters, as they used their taboo secrets to humiliate and harm each other within the campus community. This is shown in how they broke out fighting on campus, and how Julia began to fantasize her craving during a college party, where everyone and even her new boyfriend -Adrien, was freaked out. Distancing herself from what she was in the beginning of the film, Julia in turn found solace with her sister as they really understood what their condition was like. This was also seen, in the finale, about how the tendencies of cannibalism were in their family, and that the father wishes she “finds her solution.” On a simple inspection, the hunger their family felt can be alluded to sexual cravings and virginity. Knowing the pleasure of something that you crave for it forever more can be one way of looking into their condition and the progression of the film. Another way I saw was the craving as a drug or pretense of maturity in a university. Situating yourself with unfamiliar people with only your sister as a familiar face can cause very drastic and careless decisions in their part – such as Julia accidentally cutting her sister’s finger off, and her drunken dazes where she does embarrassing acts. In the end, the connection that I can understand is that it is a allegory of growing up, a coming-of-age film in its purest sense.
The grotesque and gory execution was indeed impactful. I felt like I was going to throw up because of how intense and extreme the movie went. From her sister eating someone’s brains out, to the act of biting someone’s lips of their face, it’s very shocking to watch and follow. The movie kept on presenting these gross scenes yet still find relevance to what is happening to the film – to its credit where the scenes are earned and not forced. We see here the descent or growth of a “child,” who finds herself in the most extreme image of cannibalism.