Raw Review

Justine is forced to hide her abnormal diet in the 2016 film.

(screenshot courtesy of letterboxd.com)

Justine is forced to hide her abnormal diet in the 2016 film.

Raw, released in 2016, is a coming of age drama directed by Julia Ducournau. The film follows Justine (Garance Marillier), a veterinary student and vegan who is forced to eat raw rabbit kidney as part of her school’s hazing of incoming freshmen. She develops food poisoning and a craving for meat, including human flesh, and has to battle with her lust for blood to fit into her school and conform to her parent’s expectations.

On the surface level, Raw could be seen as a graphic, gore-filled, horror movie. However, it is much deeper than that. The film explores several deep topics, including feminism, growing up, and peer pressure, but the most notable idea is the conflict of nature vs. nurture. Justine’s parents, who hide their shared cannibalistic tendencies until the last moments of the movie, shelter her by forcing her to adopt a vegan diet. Meanwhile, Justine’s older sister Alexia pushes her to embrace her irregular cravings. Ducournau wanted the viewer to contemplate whether it is moral for parents to shelter their children, and it came out both thought-provoking and visually impressive.

The French film is graphic and certainly not something for everyone. However, if you like movies that explore difficult topics, Raw is definitely worth a watch.