Femme Film poster 2023

Femme Film Review

Why I took it off the list:

The logline for this film and the fact that it’s billed as a queer thriller (still a rarity) immediately intrigued me.

That it also stars Nathan Stewart–Jarrett (who I have a soft spot for from his Misfits days) and was getting incredibly enthusiastic reviews also pushed me to see it as soon as possible.

So, let’s dig in!

Review of Femme (2023)

Femme has been expanded to a feature from a short film starring Papaa Essiedu (I May Destroy You) and Harris Dickinson (Triangle of Sadness). And it’s one of those rare cases where the subject was crying out for long-form treatment.

It starts as a rather joyful exploration of London’s drag scene, as the fabulous queen Aphrodite (aka Jules) takes to the stage for her birthday show.

But afterward, she’s out of cigarettes, and so decides to take a stroll to a nearby corner shop in her full make-up and outfit.

It’s here where things first get a bit harrowing, as she’s verbally abused by a gang of youthful thugs.

But when she recognizes the leader (George MacKay) as having given her the eyes earlier in the night and lets out a bitchy retort, he flies off the handle and brutally attacks her.

The film then picks up months later, when a traumatized Jules has found solace in playing beat-em-up video games and feels too broken to go out on the drag scene with his friends.

Instead, he decides to take a trip to a nearby bathhouse, where, shockingly, he spots his homophobic tormentor trying to pick up men.

Excellent Performances and High-wire Tension

Realizing that the thug doesn’t recognize him out of drag, Jules sees an opportunity to get some kind of revenge.

But in doing so, he plunges himself into a twisty and incredibly dangerous rabbit hole (which I won’t spoil, as you should experience it for yourself!).

The stakes just keep on getting bigger as the film goes on, and there’s hardly a scene that doesn’t have a strong vibe of tension running underneath.

Like I May Destroy You before it, Femme plays around with the idea of the victim becoming an avenging angel, but doesn’t offer up any easy resolutions for what ‘revenge’ looks like in an increasingly complicated situation.

Tense and harrowing pretty much to the end, the film somewhat resembles the cruising thriller Stranger by the Lake (2013). But it delves much deeper into the traumas and pathology of its main characters.

A big part of this is the central performances from Stewart Jarrett and MacKay, who bring palpable fear yet steely-eyed determination, and a wounded menace, to their respective roles.

Total score: 10/10

Femme (2023): Worth Watching?

Yes, Femme is an exemplary queer thriller that’s often uncomfortable to watch, in the best way possible.

Raw and complex, you can’t take your eyes off the screen because of the tense cat-and-mouse game that’s unfolding, not to mention the brilliant acting.

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