I’m Out: Our Review of ‘Femme’

Posted in Theatrical by - March 29, 2024
I’m Out: Our Review of ‘Femme’

Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping’s Femme shows its viewers that people who go to bathhouses may run into familiar faces. This is the case for Jules/Aphrodite Banks (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett). The London based drag artist runs into Preston (George MacKay), their gay basher. I once ran into my sexual abuser and did nothing, which was both boring and traumatising. Movies, however, aren’t real life, so Jules does the interestingly illogical thing of following his abuser to his car. They befriend Preston and turn him to their lover but they have deeper motivations for doing so.

Jules, at least, gets a few expensive meals out of Preston, which yes, that’s the only reason to date white men. Credit is due to Femme for treating straight white chavs – double redundant? – as anthropological subjects. It does this as the camera shows Jules reacting to Preston order chateaubriand, showing how white men behave like they have something to prove. But of course, getting meals out of drug money just isn’t enough for Jules. They need to find a way to avenge themselves, which they get when their relationship turns more sexual.

The film does try to keep its pieces together even during its climatic scene when Jules’ revenge porn plan fumbles, and I get it, I have also failed as a gay man trying to destroy my enemies. There are a lot of times when I could peace out of Femme and its premise but I can’t because of this review. It’s harder, however, to understand what others see in this film. And I chalk that to seeing an experience outside of their own. For me, it’s as if the film is trying to procrastinate its inevitable ending.

Femme‘s only interesting scene is the aftermath of the video game battle between Jules and Preston’s friends, but even that makes the film fall apart because it gets straight gamers wrong. Speaking from personal experience, even the most homophobic gamers choose female characters if those characters can kick their opponents’ ass. What’s the point of anthropologizing straight white chavs if you’re gonna get things that are inaccurate about them? Also, picking that demographic to anthropologize doesn’t make for interesting cinema since they’re such a boring majority group.

Femme again falls apart if certain viewers strip away its premise about Jules into its most basic elements. I realise this after they and Preston have a wild night that inspires them. They sew garments out of Preston’s clothes, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The film decides to depict the 1% of drag queens who hide after a gay bashing incident. Jules, who belongs to a terminally online profession, decides to quit drag to hash out a bad revenge plot. Also there is absolutely no way they quit drag and their white queer roommates (including Antonia Clarke) are paying their bills and rent.

Femme starts its limited theatrical run in New York and will be in select Canadian and American theatres for the next two weeks.

This post was written by
While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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