Not cool, Christa.
First film of the new year and I’m already ugly crying. We’re kicking off 2017 by knocking off a handful of titles that have been on our movie bucket list forever. First up is Divines, which will just toy with all of your emotions before crumpling them into a ball and kicking them. In the best possible way. Make sure you’re not wearing mascara before you watch.
Where to Watch:
Teens in Paris are determined to make money by any means possible to escape their tough neighborhood and family dysfunction.
The Uncondensed Version:
Dounia and her bff Maimouna are teenagers living in a rough Paris neighborhood. The two are always getting into trouble, blowing off school, and causing mayhem in general. Dounia has the added chip on her shoulder from her mother’s reputation for sleeping around—which means all of the little asshole kids call Dounia a bastard.
Things really kick into high gear when Dounia gets sick of all this shit and drops out of school, determined to make as much money as possible and leave everyone else in the dust.
Enter Dounia’s idol, Rebecca, a drug dealer who seems to have it all. Dounia comes up with a bold plan to get Rebecca’s attention…which actually pays off, and both Dounia and Maimouna wind up working for Rebecca.
In addition to working together and causing trouble, Dounia and Maimouna like to sneak into the theater when dance recitals are happening and make snarky comments. That is, snarky until Dounia develops a major crush on one of the dancers, Djigui, whose day job is working security at the mall. (He does have really nice eyes and a fucking hot back tattoo.) In typical teenage girl fashion, she’s a complete jerk to him and makes fun of his dancing…which may be the only time in recorded history that tactic actually works.
As the relationship between Dounia and Djigui intensifies, so too does her role in Rebecca’s criminal activities. Rebecca’s plan is to steal money from her old supplier, who supposedly has 100,000 hidden in his apartment. Dounia will get herself invited to his apartment…once she conquers walking in heels.
At the club, Dounia does catch Reda’s eye but later gets in trouble when she provokes the police. Her mom, Maimouna’s parents, and Rebecca are all pissed. Dounia loses permission to see her bff and loses Rebecca’s trust. Determined to make things right with Rebecca, Dounia arranges to meet up with Reda.
Unfortunately, the night she will meet with Reda is also the night Djigui invites her to his recital. What will Dounia choose and what will the consequences be? I’ll answer one of those questions: major. Major consequences.
4.5/5 Pink Panther Heads
I deducted 1/2 of a PPH because it took me a while to get invested in this one, maybe 30 mins or so. It’s really hard to get under the surface of Dounia’s personality at first—she’s cocky, tough as nails, and single-mindedly focused on making money. She’s also incredibly talented at making cringe worthy decisions that you can see unravelling as soon as she commits to them.
I also find it really challenging to sympathize with teenagers at this point in my life.
However, once I finally started to understand Dounia’s motivations and the vulnerabilities she constantly works to cover up, I fell hard for her character. The relationship between Dounia and Maimouna is so fucking lovely and perfect, it makes me almost want to be a teenager again. Almost. Just be warned that all of those horrible decisions Dounia makes don’t come cheaply and don’t come without serious repercussions.