Review: Femme

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Title: Femme
MPA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Sam H. Freeman, Ng Choon Ping
Starring: Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, George MacKay, Aaron Hefferman
Runtime: 1 hr 39 mins

What It Is: Jules (Stewart-Jarrett) performs as a much-loved drag queen who one night, encounters another man named Preston (MacKay) who leads a homophobic assault on Jules. Still reeling from the trauma, Jules finds himself lost and separated from that which he enjoys, when he finds Preston, unable to tell Jules and his drag persona apart, at a gay sauna where they link up. Jules finds a twisted release in the anticipation of planning his revenge on Preston, but is torn between creating a true connection or initiating justice in increasingly tense circumstances.

What We Think: Oh. My. God. What a refreshing and thrilling take on neo-noir–immediately I was swept up in the warmth, and yes, feminine, energy of the protagonist, portrayed by Candyman 2021 standout Nathan Stewart-Jarrett who beautifully juggles and shines in bringing the complex nature of Jules’s inner turmoil to life. That is to say–he ate. His foil George MacKay plays the dangerous and fragile Preston with a frightening intensity that mirrors that of such toxic masculinity to a T. The two powerhouse leads create this inexplicable magic, as they both play into a complicated relationship that concerns abuse, trauma, gender and sexual expression, and persona. Though they have the spotlight, it’s not to say the supporting cast doesn’t also serve in tow as well, leaving each and every character feeling like somebody you know, or could know. But not only do we have stunning performances, but an impactful narrative set in locations that flow from one into the other, shot with dark blues, purples, and neons that grip your attention as much as what’s being done and said within frame. Everything, from the involvement of social media and explicit platforms, to the scenes of drag and queer spaces, to the dizzying moments of violence or intimacy are filmed with a gorgeous yet gritty veneer that envelopes and immerses you all the more.

Our Grade: A+, Easily a top grade, this queer neo-noir is strikingly tender, tense, layered, and unpredictable, having you on the edge of your seat and forces you to question everything in observing complex relationships and emotions. I absolutely recommend this fantastic thriller that lent itself to surprise, amazing character building, fantastic writing, and again, top-tier performances that will leave you wanting more. Overall: fucking gorgeous.

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