Fantastic Fest 2018: Slut in a Good Way

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In director Sophie Lorain’s Slut in a Good Way, the recently heartbroken Charlotte, along with friends Megan and Aube, find seasonal work at a local department store. There, they run headlong into romantic entanglements and the double-standard applied to sexually active women.

The girls seek to regain their power by abstaining from all romance, and what follows is an incredibly funny, poignant and joyous look at their lives and loves (or lack thereof).

Lorain takes an intimate, casual story by Catherine Léger and executes it with a careful, flawless stagecraft. The blocking of the actors feels amazingly purposeful and exact, with Lorain’s camera moving perfectly to accommodate the next speaker, always where it needs to be. I found an immediate trust there. If the frame moved, I knew Lorain was leading me somewhere important to the scene. The sense of purposeful movement allayed my fears that this might be an aimless tone piece about young love.

Initially, I worried this level of obvious planning might cause the scenes to lose some spark of life, some spontaneity, since the actors always appear in just the right position to complete the frame. Instead, there is a sense that the filmmaker truly loves this story, knows where it’s going, and is caring for it. The film is heavy with conversations, as various groups navigate the intersections of workplace drama and young love, and the visual interest is sustained marvelously. Lorain creates black and white tableaus of teen life both easy to follow and gorgeous to view.

Slut in a Good Way was both funny and heartfelt, shot in a soft and dreamlike black and white. There are subtle and funny performances from Marguerite Bouchard, Romane Denis, Rose Adam, and the entire ensemble cast. Though it felt against type for the ‘neck-stabbing genre’ weirdness of Fantastic Fest, it was a welcome spot of joy the day I saw it. This was easily among the best I watched all week.

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Les Weiler enjoys television to a stunning degree, along with various movies of questionable cultural value. His 90s college education left him woefully unprepared for the real job of the future: curating a profitable social media presence. The last video game he played well was Goldeneye. He can be heard on The TV Dudes podcast, The Good Die Young podcast, and elsewhere.