This movie blew me away. It was like a sexy coming of age movie for cannibals!
The main character, a thin French girl, (aren’t they always??) is headed to veterinary school for the first time, a family tradition apparently. Her sister is there (we meet her at a blood rave later) and both her parents went there.
The first night of veterinary school is a lot of hazing (who knew!), where older students throw your mattress out a window and make you take ecstasy and dance in a basement with blood covered stuffed animals hanging from the ceiling. Justine (the main character) finds her sister in jean shorts dancing on a ledge with her dog (in vet school, the dogs can come to the parties!) and they hug and go over some emotions. Her sister takes her to a secret picture wall in the basement where they find some framed shots of their parents covered in blood and smiling. Normal!!!!
The next day all the first years are going through more hazing (to save a horse’s life, you MUST master greek life) where they dump blood on everyone (fun, normal) and everyone must eat a rabbit’s kidney. Justine is adamantly opposed because she was raised vegetarian. Her sister comes over and forces her to eat the rabbit’s kidney, which later causes an itchy rash (a VERY intense rash. A makeup artist could get a scholarship to college on this rash) to spread over her entire body. She goes to the school nurse, who tells her a story about a girl who was fat that she treated like a person, and then gave her a cream to put on her rash and tells her to fast for a day.
Justine puts the cream on and tries not to eat but also keeps being drawn to the smell of meat. She ends up stealing a loose hamburger patty in the pocket of her white coat during lunch, then throws it away when the lunch lady sees it dripping grease from the her pocket. She also eats a raw chicken breast in the middle of the night and lies to her gay roommate named Alex about it, who she maybe has sexual tension with, or maybe wants to eat, it’s very unclear.
A scene that’s a big turning point in the film is when Justine goes over to borrow slutty clothes from her sister (more hazing). In her sister’s bathroom she finds the same cream the nurse gave her for her rash but doesn’t say anything about it. Later, after Alexia (big sis) tries to teach her to pee standing up on a rooftop (“Jut your hips out and push really hard”) Justine asks if she can sleep over. They do fun sleepover things like play video games, share secrets, and examine body hair. Alexia makes fun of Justine’s armpit hair, then checks out her pussy because they’re family (whenever they go to Olive Garden it’s INSANE), and decides to give her a Brazilian on the bed. So they’re doing the vagina waxing, (the camera angles for this are great by the way, just a down-the-barrel-of-the-gun kind of thing), and Alexia’s pulling the strips off and they hurt, but then one gets STUCK, so Alexia goes to get scissors to cut it off at the base.
Justine is understandably very nervous and doesn’t like the scissors plan and pushes her away really hard saying, “It’s my pussy!” because I don’t think she thought her sister understood it was her real life vagina, or knew it was but didn’t care/wouldn’t be gentle. Either way she pushes her away while Alexia’s holding the scissors at an odd angle and she falls, and ends up cutting her finger off (whoops!) then passing out from shock and blood loss. Justine calls an ambulance and while she’s waiting for them she starts to smell the blood and EATS THE FINGER LIKE A CHICKEN BONE. Alexia comes to and is pissed (Omg you guys you know when your sister eats your finger??? So annoying!!) but mysterious kind of and when their parents take them to the ER Alexia tells everyone the dog ate it and they put the dog down which is totally unfair and sad.
Right after getting out of the hospital (like stands up from a wheelchair in the parking lot), Alexia takes her sister to this abandoned road (btw a car accident on this road is the first scene in the movie) and throws herself into oncoming traffic. The guys in the car try to swerve and not hit her but run into a tree and both die. Then Alexia starts EATING them and she’s like, “I did this for you” to Justine, clearly to usher her into the sisterhood that is consuming human flesh, but Justine isn’t emotionally there yet so she walks home on the side of the highway. For some reason she takes her shirt off and walks home in her bra.
More stuff happens with Justine (she fucks her gay roommate, her sister brings her into a morgue and films her trying to eat the limbs, she makes out with a guy while they’re both covered in paint and tries to eat his tongue, etc, etc.) and she sort of makes this transition where it seems like she’s reached a happy balance of stuff and by that I don’t really mean that at all but she has a dance scene in front of a mirror where it seems like she’s accepting her sexuality/personhood/identity/flesh-eating. But then she gets into a public fight with her sister on the quad or wherever and Alexia bites a piece of Justine’s cheek off. Happy Thanksgiving!
The next day Justine wakes up in a bed next to Alex (her gay/bi/whatever he wants roommate) and she’s kind of stroking his face and goes for the dick and her hand comes back covered in blood!!!! She lifts up the blanket to find his whole right thigh and leg EATEN, and her sister on the other side of the room covered in blood playing video games (so chill). She seems to think about killing her sister with a ski pole, but then takes her into the shower instead and cleans her off by rubbing down her entire body with her hands.
This movie has a lot of sexual things: women/girls in their underwear doing stuff, boobs, sex, rash-scratching, etc. But the camera never lingers and The Gaze doesn’t seem to be there, it’s feels like life when stuff is just happening when you happen to not be wearing that much clothes. I really really liked the camera work and art direction in this movie, it is gorgeous and shockingly new and it feels insightful in this intimate visual way.
The whole thing is in French by the way-I think I forgot to say that. You know how in Goodfellas they say fuck a record number of times and in The Sopranos they’re eating like every third scene? Well, this movie set those records but with blood. In almost every scene, someone’s covered with blood, bleeding, eating something dripping blood, getting a nosebleed, or some dead animal is being splayed on some surface. That’s another thing- because the entire thing takes place in veterinary school, there’s a lot of scenes of weird animal violence (not the right word but I can’t think of what is). Like there’s a scene where they tranquilize a horse and immobilize it and string it upside down and put a bit in it’s mouth and manipulate its tongue in this really visceral way, there’s a dog dissection scene, dead baby cows suspended in clear jars, the aforementioned raw rabbits kidneys, etc. Heavy on the animal gore I’d say.
I genuinely loved this movie, it made me CRINGE and gasp and be uncomfortable quite often, the way it’s done is incredibly vivid and real and I haven’t seen a lot like it and I loved it and I’m happy I saw it.
Five out of five raw chicken breast midnight snacks, would masturbate again.