Watch: The best queer erotic thriller of 2023 is now on Netflix
(Credit: Netflix)

Film News

Watch: The best queer erotic thriller of 2023 is now on Netflix

While erotic thrillers have long been a staple of cinema, the inclusion of queer characters and storylines is a more recent development. This evolution speaks to a growing demand for diverse representation and narratives that reflect the rich tapestry of human experiences. Enter Femme, the harrowing yet mesmerising 2023 British thriller written and directed by Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping, is currently streaming on Netflix.

Adapted from their BAFTA-nominated short film, Femme made its mark at the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival before hitting UK cinemas and now finding its home on the streaming giant. The film follows Jules (portrayed by Nathan Stewart-Jarrett), a drag queen whose life is upended by a horrific homophobic attack. Seeking retribution, Jules crosses paths with his assailant, Preston (played by George MacKay), in a gay sauna. What follows is a gripping tale of deception, desire, and dangerous liaisons.

Femme is not the first erotic thriller that has opened to rave applause. From classics like Basic Instinct to modern gems like Blue Is the Warmest Color, queer erotic thrillers have steadily carved out their niche, provoking dialogue with their blend of intrigue and intimacy.

What sets Femme apart is its refusal to adhere to conventional tropes. Freeman and Ping craft a narrative that deftly explores themes of identity, power, and toxic masculinity, subverting expectations at every turn. Stewart-Jarrett and MacKay deliver powerhouse performances, infusing their characters with nuance and vulnerability that linger long after the credits roll. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian called the film “outstanding” while commending Freeman and Ping on their brilliant feature debuts.

As Femme makes its Netflix debut, audiences have the opportunity to delve into its spellbinding world of shadows and secrets. The film invites you to confront uncomfortable truths and engage in a conversation about the complexities of queer existence. Much like Michaela Coel’s brilliant I May Destroy You, which explores the female perspective with potent rage and rawness, Femme also brings some potent to the ‘assault and revenge’ genre.

In a statement to the European Film Awards, Freeman and Ping expressed their desire to challenge the norms of the neo-noir thriller, placing a queer protagonist at the forefront of their story. “The seed of Femme came from our desire to flip the classic hyper-masculinity of the neo-noir thriller on its head. By putting a queer protagonist at the heart of our revenge story, we aimed to put our own stamp on a genre that we love but from which we have often felt excluded.”

We do need more stories of queer joy, but as Nathan Stewart-Jarrett aptly noted to Digital Spy, “We need to talk about violence against queer people. We need to talk about it. It happens constantly.” Femme not only initiates these conversations but also demands a reckoning with the pervasive forces of prejudice and oppression.

You can watch Femme on Netflix and catch the trailer here: