0:02:32 A lass on a deserted road leaps out in front of a passing car to get that run down feeling, while the automobile crashes into a tree. The young lady in question rises from the road and approaches the vehicle which is more smashed than English kids on Saturday night. Like maths and puberty, we’ll understand this eventually.
0:03:22 After the opening credits, a young vegetarian (Garance Marillier as Justine) with her parents at a rest stop restaurant finds a meatball in her mashed potatoes. The mother freaks out enough for the both of them. We will soon learn there is a good reason her mother doesn’t want her to have a ball.
0:05:38 The family arrive at a uni dormitory where they’re unable to reach Justine’s older sister (who’s also a student at the school), so the parents abandon the younger daughter with her suitcase in the car park. She must be at the school of hard knocks.
0:06:46 In the middle of the night, amid a loud ruckus, an angry young man (the very hot Rabah Nait Oufella as Adrien), bursts into Justine’s room and announces he’s her roommate.
Justine: I asked for a girl roommate!
Adrien: They gave you a fag, it’s the same thing for them.
0:08:18 The senior students enter all of the freshman rooms, throw all of the belongings – mattresses included – out of the windows, and then march the newbies in their pajamas through the building. It’s a hazing ritual which comforts me about not being smart enough to go to a French school, or English school, or even charm school.
0:09:58 They arrive at a massive underground rave where one of the older students promotes this site!
[N.B. The song playing at the party is The Dø – Despair, Hangover & Ecstasy. This song, along with other songs from the film, can be found on a playlist at the bottom of this post.]
0:10:04 At the party, some girls like to grin and bare it. [This photo is NSFW!]
0:12:12 At the rave, Justine finally finds her sister, Alexia (Ella Rumpf), who is drunker than a cheap pint at a uni pub.
0:14:16 Alex shows her younger sister an old photo of their parents, who also went through similar hazing when they were at the same veterinarian school. Apparently, animals run in their family.
0:17:08 As part of the hazing, the new students have animal blood dumped on them. A little blood the first time is nothing to worry about…
0:19:06 As part of the hazing ritual, Justine must eat a rabbit kidney. As she’s a vegetarian, she protests, but her older sister forces her to eat it.
Alexia: I ate mine last year. That’s why I’m here now.
That’s a mouthful.
0:21:28 During lunch at the school canteen, Justine draws the ire of some of her classmates by saying that a monkey who’s been raped feels as bad as a woman who’s been raped. She’s surprised by her classmates’ judgement, after all they’re in vet school because they love animals, right? And not just for dinner…
[N.B. Justine’s love for animals is a major subplot I’ll not really explore in this synopsis, though there are several reminders throughout, especially when she looks upon the animals being treated in the vet school labs.]
0:22:32 Justine awakes in the middle of the night with an adverse reaction to the meat. She thinks it’s difficult now, but she’s just scratching the surface.
0:26:11 Justine pays a visit to the school nurse for her skin problem. It’s a rash decision.
Justine: I’m always hungry, though. My stomach always feels empty.
This is a clue to the deepening of her desires of the flesh.
0:32:54 Justine gets caught nicking a Salisbury steak from the canteen buffet by slipping it into the pocket of her lab coat. Adrien is certainly more adept at slipping in the beef.
[N.B. A note about how the writing in the film is more subtle than mine on this site… Before stealing the meat, Justine points out to Adrien, whom she assumes is Muslim, that the sandwich he’s chosen from the buffet contains pork, and is thus against his religion. He simply asks, “So what?” and continues on. His rejection of a dietary restriction is what makes it easier for Justine to then reject her vegetarianism by taking the steak.]
0:33:47 While in a bus, Adrien and Justine come across the scene of an accident where a car has crashed into a tree…in the exact same location as the crash we saw at the beginning of the film. [See 2:32.] That stretch of road is more dangerous than an American president. Jk, 😂 😂 😂!
0:36:02 They order food a petrol station counter and Justine devours her doner kebab. It’s her first time eating meat willingly, but it’s a habit she picks up as easily as the sandwich.
0:36:51 Justine wakes up in the middle of the night to gobble a raw chicken breast. If that’s not sick, she surely will be.
0:37:37 While a professor demonstrates his antipathy towards her scholastic excellence, Justine nibbles on her own hair. It may not be chicken, but I’d wager it tastes better raw.
0:37:58 Justine vomits the all the hair she’s been munching and looks like every cat for which I’ve ever sat.
0:40:28 After Justine and Alex get pissed and bond over a few beers on a rooftop, Alex teaches her sister how to wee like a man, except Justine wees like a drunken 3-year-old.
0:41:28 While staying at Alexia’s, Justine finds the same sort of liniment the nurse gave her to fight the rash. Meaning Alexia had the same reaction Justine did when she ate animal protein, and it had the same effect. We’re getting to the meat of the problem.
0:43:22 Alexia wants to give her sister a Brazilian wax but is unable to pull it off.
0:43:51 While Alexia tries to remove the excess wax with scissors, Justine kicks her and causes Alexia to cut off her own finger. In other words, Alexia gave Justine the finger.
0:46:16 While waiting for the ambulance, Justine gives in to her urges and begins nibbling at the finger as though it were a barbecue chicken wing.
0:47:31 Alexia comes out of her swoon to find her sister devouring her finger. Justine may not be an accountant, but she’s good at crunching digits.
0:50:12 At the hospital, Alexia claims the dog ate her finger. Justine’s father (Laurent Lucas as The Father) explains their dog will have to be put down because once an animal has tasted human flesh, it’s no longer safe. This scene is beautifully ironic in that 1) Justine loves animals but her lie is responsible for killing her pet and 2) now that she’s tasted human flesh, she’s no longer safe.
0:51:16 After the parents leave, Alexia tells Justine they need to talk and takes her to the same place at the roadside where the accidents [see 2:32 and 33:47] have been taking place. Alexia, we will see, wants dinner “to go”.
0:53:37 Alexia rises from the road and makes her way over the crashed vehicle. After a short dispute with Justine, Alexia begins eating the head of the young male passenger. He’s got a good head on his shoulders, or at least Alexia seems to think so.
0:53:58 Justine refuses to eat the victims, despite Alexia’s insistence on the fact that she “need[s] to learn”. Justine finds cannibalism in poor taste.
0:56:48 Justine develops a carnal interest in Adrien, and ogles him while he plays football with the lads. She’s already confessed to being a virgin [during her doctor’s visit, see 26:11], so it’s hard to determine what type of meat she’s hungry for.
[Raw could be interpreted as a metaphor for a young girl’s sexual awakening. The virgin lives with her parents and so is prevented from having a sexual experience, but when she leaves for uni she has a taste of physical pleasure with her experienced sister’s finger on a night they’re both drunk, and then develops a craving for the “pleasures of the flesh”, literally.]
0:58:23 That one scene where Justine revels in her sexuality to the dark eroticism of ORTIES’ “Plus putes que toutes les putes” [which is on the playlist at the bottom of this post.]
1:00:58 Justine discovers her sister is in Adrien’s room and becomes jealous. She tells Alexia he’s off limits. There’s at least one finger she won’t lay on him.
1:04:34 Arriving at a party on her floor, Justine is doused by a can of blue paint. A senior in a ski mask pairs her up with a male newbie covered in yellow paint and locks then in the toilets, forbidding them from coming out until they’re green. Pretty colourful language.
1:05:58 While the two are snogging, Justine gives in to her compulsion and bites off part of the boy’s lower lip. At least the cat hasn’t got his tongue.
1:08:48 Afterwards, Justine takes a shower to wash off the paint and the piece of meat she pulls from her teeth only to re-eat it. She has a chat with Adrien, then says she’s going to bed and he begins pleasuring himself to gay porn, when she returns and says…
[N.B. The original French line is “C’est grave”, which is worth noting because “Grave” is the original French title of the film. It’s interesting because her line could be translated as, “I’ve got it bad”, which is both a reference to her sexual desire for her roommate and her case of cannibalism, and explains how director Julia Ducournau chose that name for her film.]
1:10:11 During their sex scene, Adrien has to go so far as to hold Justine’s head back by her hair to keep her from biting him. Gives new meaning to the term “dinner date”.
1:12:14 In the middle of a group study session, Justine becomes irate upon learning that her sister has Adrien’s number. After their spat, Adrien storms out insisting he’s gay. Justine’s virginity might beg to differ.
1:12:44 At a party…
[N.B. The song at the party is “It’s Getting Boring By The Sea” by Blood Red Shoes. This song is on the playlist at the bottom of the post.]
1:17:56 The next day, everyone treats Justine like a pariah. Adrien shows her why: there’s a video of her drunk at a party behaving like a dog while her sister teases her with a dead man’s dangling arm.
1:19:20 Justine, furious, seeks out her sister on the campus and attacks her.
You taste like shit.
Alexia to Justine after she takes bite of her sister’s cheek
Justine has shitty taste.
1:20:58 After embarrassing themselves in front of the entire school, the girls retreat to Alexia’s room where they reconcile and Alexia tends to her sister’s facial wound. They’re making up and making up.
1:23:10 The following morning is the ceremony which officially ends the hazing period. Thus, it’s not only the sisters who come out of the haze.
[The song playing while the students unite is “Ma Che Freddo Fa” by Nada, and is on the playlist at the bottom of this post.]
1:23:56 Justine wakes up bedside Adrien, their night was as rough as her face.
1:24:37 When she moves in to spoon, she discovers half of his leg is missing. Gives “eating someone out” an entirely new meaning.
1:26:24 Rising from the bed, Justine realises ’tis not she but Alexia who is the guilty party. She finds her older sister sitting on the kitchen floor absently playing a video game. Probably Pacman.
1:28:56 Justine drags her nearly comatose sister into the shower where she cleans the blood of of both of them. Blood may well be thicker than water, but water washes it off superbly.
1:29:39 Flash forward, the family go to visit Alexia in prison. Alexia must like it there as there’s fresh meat in the “cooler”. [Oh please, you would’ve said it too, had you thought of it.]
1:31:56 Back at the house, Justine’s father tells the story of meeting his wife /Justine’s mother at vet school.
Father: Your mom was tough at first. Kept saying I was her best friend at school. It drove me nuts. It’s not like she had a boyfriend, either. And then we had our first kiss. And I understood.
And so does Justine and so do we because as he says this, he caresses what we’d assumed was a cleft lip scar with his thumb. But it’s not a cleft lip scar…
1:32:33 He opens his shirt to show Justine the massive amount of scarring on his chest where his wife tried to eat his heart out.
[We understand that the girls’ affliction was passed down to them through their mother. They were safe from the ‘disease’ until they had their first taste of meat, but after that they became ravenous, just like their mother. This was why she was so adamant at the beginning of the film that Justine remain vegetarian. Once Alexia tasted meat at her hazing (the year before the events f this film take place), she became an active cannibal and learned how to cause automobile accidents to feed off of the victims. Then, a year later, when Justine arrived at the same school, history repeated itself.]
- WTF!?’s: 0 biting ones
- When to Follow: Not a first date movie or even a third date flick, but definitely a must-see. Try watching it alone one Saturday evening when you’re feeling a touch peckish.
- Where’s This Found: I occasionally receive criticism on this website for telling the truth and mercilessly tearing films to shreds with my snark. The reason I do this (other than wealth and fame, obviously) is films like Raw. If I say every film I’ve seen is brilliant, then it takes the shine away from those rare films that are original, well-acted and deftly directly. If I claim that every piece of rehashed cliché that’s thrown up on the screen to make Hollywood a quick buck is great, then how am I to distinguish them from films that truly are great? Films that stand out from the pack? Films that earn your money and deserve your praise? Well, Raw, is one of those movies. It may be a little rough around the edges, but at least it has an edge, and it’s sincere, honest and entirely captivating. It’s certainly not a film for everyone, but if you like your meat like your movies: dark and raw, then this is the film for you. Out of a possible 10, I have 9 F’s to give.
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