Femme (2024)

by | Apr 5, 2024 | Movie Reviews, New In Theaters | 0 comments

Femme is a frightening and forceful look at revenge through the eyes of a young gay drag artist who’s brutally attacked by a closeted homophobic psychopath. Leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination, this film never shies away from showcasing all the beauty and the horror associated with identifying as LGBTQ+. What we’re witnessing here is a fictious depiction of the kind of violence and threats that people actually receive in real life simply for being themselves. Truthfully, this film isn’t the easiest watch but it’s one that feels absolutely necessary to further grasp the scope of what’s happening to people suffering worldwide. The addition of revenge in this film’s story made me incredibly curious to see how they might tackle taking on oppressors in a modern age. The final result makes for a shocking finish and undoubtedly sits Femme among the best releases of 2024!

Jules (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) is a younger man who spends some evenings dressing in drag and putting on incredible performances for his friends and admirers. One evening after a show Jules is mocked and ridiculed by some London roadmen, he responds to their homophobia and attempts to expose one of the men for checking him out in drag. This comment led to increased embarrassment and rage from Preston (Goerge MacKay), who brutally beats and degrades Jules on camera. Months after the attack, Jules spots Preston in a gay bath house and begins a plot to seduce him and get revenge.

Full of heart-pounding and breath stopping moments, Femme is such a fascinating and terrifying exploration of revenge and how it subtly warps people. There are so many different themes and genres overlapping with one another in completely complementary ways, never quite tying this film down to one specific style or term. In a very confusing, albeit human fashion, the film tackles attraction and how we present ourselves in front of others in a heartbreaking way. Rather than siding completely with Jules, the film allows you to peel back some of Preston’s layers and see how fractured he is in a completely different manner. Watching the two narratives side-by-side was incredibly revealing about the human experience and made for an even more complex.

Nathan Stewart-Jarrett is unbelievable in a role that demands so much vulnerability and adaptability as he moves through different social settings and scenarios. His interactions with MacKay are often intense and somewhat scary as Preston’s character is deeply in denial of his sexuality and how people will see him. Stewart-Jarrett constantly pushes MacKay to slowly release his power and even has some incredibly tender moments of comfort that really caught me off guard (both with the execution and how confusing it made me feel about their connection). As it sometimes goes with the long con, you see Jules wrestling with real feelings he’s developing and how hard it may make his mission of revenge.

George MacKay delivers an unhinged performance that borders on the level of psychotic and goes places I wasn’t expecting at all. Beneath the tough guy machismo is a young man who feels out of place in his world and like he can’t completely be himself either. He constantly tries to impress Jules at first, flashing his bling and his money nonchalantly and trying to be too much of a typical provider. Over time, the gestures become more and more sincere as Preston starts to enjoy the life he’s exploring and begins caring more for Jules and his wellbeing. Watching him vacillate between a hardened thug and tender naïve lover is truly impressive and MacKay really plays well opposite of Stewart-Jarrett.

Femme explores so much more than revenge and sexuality, challenging the audience and the characters to move out of their comfort zones and past their expectations. While there’s a sizeable amount of nudity and sex in this film, it absolutely serves the narrative and normalizes showing all kinds of relationships and walks of life on-screen. There’s a great dichotomy to how we imagine each man’s friend group may perceive and treat the other, however Femme continually makes the case for leaving assumptions behind while watching. The dense layers of the story and the lives of the lead characters are often surprising and truly make this film a standout in so many ways! If you have the opportunity to see this film I think it’s a worthwhile experience for those with an open mind and a love of a great revenge tale!

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