Charlène Favier’s debut feature is a perpetually unsettling and solidly-crafted abuse drama with a great central performance.
“And so Fred sets to work turning Lyz into his own personal property, right in front of his wife no less. First worming his way into Lyz’s life by giving her the validation and attention she cannot get from her own family, then isolating her further from her teammates with additional practice time, turning her on her own parents by appealing to that driven competitive nature and telling her what she wants to hear, before outright consuming her once all possible escape options have been successfully closed off. Favier unsparingly plays this out step-by-step, at every turn demonstrating precisely how it affects Lyz mentally and just how hard it is for her to break free of this traumatic control in a manner that, at least to my eyes, never fully felt exploitative even if there are times where everyone seems to prioritise symbolism-filled shots over all else. There’s a pivotal and highly-distressing rape scene at the end of the second act, where Yann Maritaud’s camera and Favier’s staging are arranged as such to make it look like Fred is completely overwriting Lyz’s physical presence too, where I’m not fully convinced the execution is as deftly handled as it needs to be in order to avoid the baggage of decades of exploitative depictions of rape in filmed media.”
Full review exclusively at Soundsphere Magazine (link).
Callie Petch has gotta tell you it’s gonna be a champagne year.