Tag Archives: NathanStewart-Jarrett

Sleeping with the Enemy


by Matt Weiner

“Revenge thriller with a twist” doesn’t do justice to Femme, the tight feature debut from writers and directors Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping.

Based on their 2021 short film, Femme kicks off with a brutal and unflinching gay-bashing when Jules (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) stands up for himself after being mocked for his drag attire by Preston (George MacKay) and his mates.

The attack leaves Jules traumatized for months. After a chance sighting of Preston in a bathhouse, Jules realizes that his attacker is deeply closeted—and the idea for an intricate revenge plot energizes Jules and gives him a new purpose.

The plan is to film revenge porn and out Preston, ruining his life in a social circle with little tolerance for homosexuality. To achieve this plan, of course, Jules has to actually record the revenge porn, which kicks off a high-wire secret relationship between the two as they fall in something resembling love despite the glut of secrets each man is hiding.

Freeman and Ping breathe fresh life into the self-loathing homophobe trope. The sexy (and seamy) sides of London nightlife elevate Femme into a taut neo-noir thriller. As Jules develops complicated feelings for Preston, his plan for revenge feels much closer to Hitchcock than Forster.

The movie also moves at a rapid pace, almost to a fault. It’s a sparse plot, which puts the full weight of the challenging emotional interplay on MacKay and Stewart-Jarrett. The two leads are both exceptional, and pull off their thorny affair with empathy on both sides. This is no small feat for MacKay especially, whose Preston starts the movie full of hate and nearly killing his soon-to-be lover.

MacKay humanizes Preston without letting go of a barely contained menace that could erupt at any moment. It’s clear that Jules is playing a dangerous game. And one that is unlikely to have any winners.