Femme

Femme ★★★★

Gutsy stuff, never as reductive/simplistic as you worry it might be; motivations are on shifting ground throughout. Is calculated revenge a turn-on? How do the kinks of these characters play into the violent dynamics between them? Where do they start, or stop, getting off on all this? I admire the film for not playing it safe: in fact, I expect it to get crudely kicked around for breaking certain dogmas of queer representation, and I'll be right here to defend it for taking genuine, exploratory chances.

Nathan Stewart-Jarrett singing "Shygirl" proves that he's a movie star, all eyes on him. Never seen a bad performance from this guy; this is his best. And MacKay really levels up: the whole point is that he's faking bravado, doesn't entirely scan as the tough nut he's playing. We know Harris Dickinson could have done this, but it's a more effective surprise to watch MacKay do it. They're both so good together.

The climax gets wobbly, with faltering craft – why was I reminded of Death Becomes Her when they tumble down some steps?! Cracking support from John McCrea, though, as the flatmate/ex too hung up for empathy. This thing has attitude to spare. It also has doubt – chinks in its armour – and perhaps those are even more valuable.

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