TIFF16: Raw

A vegetarian veterinary student gains a taste for human flesh after being forced to eat meat for the first time in Raw. 16 year old Justine (Garance Marillier) has just enrolled into a veterinary college, following the steps of her family, including her older sister Alexia (Ella Rumpf). Despite her entire family being devout vegetarians, Justine is forced to eat a raw rabbit kidney as part of the school’s hazing ritual. Not only does she get some pretty bad food poisoning, but Justine begins to get cravings for meat of all forms.

Raw is a grisly coming-of-age story, which parallels Justine’s sexual awakening at college, with sudden cannibalistic desires. Justine also has to contend with her uneasy relationship with her older sister Alexia, which steadily becomes more antagonistic as Justine’s cravings get stronger. Justine’s only real solace as she undergoes these changes is her homosexual roommate Adrien (Rabah Nait Oufella).

While Raw does feature a few gruesome, cringe-inducing moments, particularly the first time Justine receives cannibalistic cravings, the film is actually a surprisingly touching coming-of-age story. With the central sisterly relationship and the paralleling of Justine’s cravings with the emerging of her sexuality, I can almost describe Raw as “Ginger Snaps with cannibalism.” Raw is definitely a well-made debut for French filmmaker Julia Ducournau.

8 / 10 stars


  • Tuesday, September 13, 10:00 PM – Scotiabank Theatre 3
  • Saturday, September 17, 12:30 PM – TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).