dani phosgene’s review published on Letterboxd:
"It's nothing. Everybody does it."
Strangely enough it took three viewings to just notice the efficient allegory behind RAW, before I watched this film as a cannibal flick and I absolutely loved it both times. That's what I love about it, even if you take the allegory away, leaving only cannibalism part, it still amazingly works. RAW is one of the best films of the New French Extremity movement by all means, it's gory, stylish, extremely uncomfortable to watch at times even for me, and of course, exceedingly transgressive. But when most of the films of this movement stops it adds an allegory about the first sexual awakening, entering adulthood and the danger of being sexually oppressed.
As I said many times before "female sexuality is one of the most interesting things you can make a film about, but one of the hardest", and Julia Ducournau with her surprisingly impressive feature debute proves me just right. Her direction is absolutety on point, she nails every mood she tries to set in this film as many experienced directors cannot do. With Garance Marillier as a lead, she creates incredible visual character development through the way Marillier's body look, postures and even little gestures that change from shy and innocent in the beginning to assertive and even barbarian towards the end.
The allegory that basically says "flesh=sex" works at every moment, Justine is a vegetarian like her parents which means she's sexually oppressed because of her parents, she never felt sexual attraction towards anyone before, and when she gets to the campus and gets her very first sexual awakening, it turns into massacre because of her hunger for flesh which she can't control, her sister tries to help her but she's just a kid as well, an experienced one, but still a kid. I love how Julia Ducournau depicts about importance of being sexually educated, she just proves that it doesn't matter what are you want to say, what really important is how you do that.
Julia Ducournau's RAW is one of the best debutes I've ever seen, it works both with or without the allegory, and that makes it even better. You can look at it as an intoxicating look at sexual awakening and further liberation and enjoy it, or you can look at it as an artsy cannibal flick and still really enjoy it. Bon appétit!