The Reel Review


Months after being brutally attacked on the streets of London, a drag performer traumatized by the gay-bashing recognizes his attacker at a gay bathhouse and decides to start a relationship with him as part of his plan to exact revenge. Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and George MacKay star in this LGBTQ+ thriller.

George MacKay and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett in Femme

Extremely far-fetched premise aside, Stewart-Jarrett (Candyman) and MacKay (1917) both give committed, convincing performances as the unlikely duo, all stylishly set to the gritty visuals of the London nightclub scene. Stewart-Jarrett’s Jules has become socially withdrawn and has stopped performing as a result of the attack. But his plan for revenge against his attacker, by filming and uploading videos of their sexual encounters online to publicly out him, becomes complicated when the two start to actually develop feelings for one another.

Nathan Stewart-Jarrett in Femme

At times the story from co-writer/directors Ng Choon Ping and Sam H. Freeman does drag a bit, despite maintaining tension throughout as the viewer wonders exactly how this story will play out. The ending, while not entirely satisfying, is at least believable. Femme is a commendable film debut for its writer/directors.


Femme was first a short film starring Paapa Essiedu (The Lazarus Project, I May Destroy You) and Harris Dickinson (Triangle of Sadness).

Femme writer/director Ping says actor George MacKay is the complete opposite of his heavily tattooed character Preston in the film, which helped him bring that sweetness to his performance to make Preston more sympathetic.

Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and George MacKay win their award for Best Joint Lead Performance for Femme at the 26th British Independent Film Awards on December 3, 2023 in London.

• Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and George MacKay were awarded Best Joint Lead Performance for Femme at the 2023 British Independent Film Awards. The film also won two other categories – Best Costume Design and Best Makeup & Hair Design – among its total 11 nominations.


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