Image from: Divines (2016)

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Reviewed by blacksnakemoan FR / Joined blacksnakemoan -0001
France, 2016, 105 minutes Coming of Age, Teen, Crime
Fizzing teenage emotions, religion, dance and scenes of extreme violence make uncomfortable bedfellows in this impressive molotov cocktail of a movie debut. There's too much going on for a clean train of thought to emerge from the mess, but then isn't that what being a teenager is all about? I really wanted to love this film, for its sheer brazenness and passion in telling a story that doesn't come along very often in French cinema, however it was just trying to say too much at once, and as a result quite a lot misses the mark, in particular unconvincing subplots concerning a crime boss (Celine Sciamma's Girlhood tripped up on this also), a sexpot dancer, and a mother-daughter relationship that gets abandoned when really it should be the driving force. There is the feeling of three good films squashed uncomfortably into one, here. The performances are excellent, although the dialogue is too on the nose too much of the time. All that said, it's an excellent film debut. What really brings this down from a four stars for me though, is the ending. I'm all for films that tell their truth, but after a cliche coulda woulda shoulda penultimate scene, it comes across as cruel, lazily 'full-circle' and exploitative (and perhaps too obvious a nod to Doo the Right Thing), when it really REALLY didn't need to be. Despite this, this film is a must-see.
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