A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Raw is a gruesome, French-language horror film about cannibalism that reportedly made audiences both faint and vomit at film festivals. Expect extreme gore and violence, including body part eating and blood slurping, as well as fighting and other disturbing, revolting images. Sexual content is also graphic, with a male-female sex scene, a male-male oral sex scene, and gay porn shown on a computer. There's also kissing, topless women, naked male and female bottoms, and song lyrics about necrophilia. Swearing (in English subtitles) includes "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "p---y," and more. There's also an intense party sequence, with college-age characters drinking, possibly doing drugs, and more. Other heavy drinking and cigarette smoking are also shown. Presented almost as a challenge, this movie will be irresistible to most teen horror fans, but viewers under 18, beware.
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What's the story?
In RAW, Justine (Garance Marillier) is heading to college to study to become a veterinarian. Her family has always been strictly vegetarian, so she recoils in horror when a meatball turns up in her mashed potatoes at lunch. At school, her older sister, Alexia (Ella Rumpf), also a student, fails to show up to meet Justine. But soon Justine is caught up in various initiations and hazings from older students, starting with an all-night, drunken party -- where Justine does find her sister -- and including the required eating of a raw rabbit kidney. After participating, Justine develops a strange rash, followed by uncontrollable hunger and a craving for meat. Soon even her roommate Adrien (Rabah Nait Oufella) starts making her salivate. Meanwhile, Alexia seems to be hiding a dark secret.
Is it any good?
This French-language cannibal-horror movie reportedly made audiences in Cannes and Toronto vomit, pass out, and/or walk out; it's not really that bad, but it is playfully queasy and artfully gory. Making her feature directing and writing debut, Julia Ducournau was clearly inspired by masters like Dario Argento, Stanley Kubrick, and David Cronenberg, but she brings a new kind of female perspective to the story. Raw shows a male-dominated hierarchy and the struggles that women go through just to stay equal, from a spoken story about an overweight girl getting her shots to a urinating contest between the sisters.
But Ducournau doesn't do or say anything overtly. She buries her politics within the story's emotions. We experience just about everything through Justine's eyes and feelings. In one scene, she writhes in pain from hunger pangs or simply stomach pain, and she remains jammed under her sheets, the camera stuck in there with her. The movie can't quite figure out how to end itself, but it provides enough striking images and ideas to qualify as a strong calling card for a promising filmmaker.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Raw's graphic violence. How did it affect you? How much was actually shown? How realistic did it seem? Does exposure to violent media desensitize kids to violence?
How is the sexual content handled? Are the characters responsible? Are there consequences? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships./screen-time/why-is-it-important-for-kids-to-see-consequences-in-movies
How is drinking portrayed? Is it glamorized? What are the consequences?
- In theaters: March 17, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: September 5, 2017
- Cast: Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Rabah Nait Oufella
- Director: Julia Ducournau
- Studio: Focus World
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 99 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: aberrant behavior, bloody and grisly images, strong sexuality, nudity, language and drug use/partying
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