Slut in a Good Way: Worth Seeing

The message of this Quebecois comedy is the double standard between the sexes. Namely how women get labelled sluts and men are congratulated for the exact same behavior.

Let me rewind to the movie.

Charlotte is a teenage girl enamored with her boyfriend in that manner young people often are. One night after they copulate, the boyfriend immediately says that dreaded sentence, “We need to talk.” At least the twist was him telling Charlotte he’s gay instead of being in love with another girl/woman. Devastated, she is consoled and gets hammered with her two best friends Mégane and Aube. These two are Charlotte’s ying and yang in the story. Mégane is the outspoken cynic and self-proclaimed anarchist. To her love is bullshit, boys are dumb and viva revolution. Aube is soft-spoken and a little shy. She isn’t really sure about love or boys other than she liked to meet someone.

Due to their underage drinking in a public park (Quebec is a more sensible 18), they get chased by the cops and manage to dodge the heat in a nearby Toys R Us-like store. There, the trio spot all the handsome boys and young men working in the place. As an act of solidarity they apply for part-time jobs there. Within a week, they are hired as seasonal help (Christmas is several months away) and go through training with the male co-workers. Charlotte enjoys the flirting and starts her recovery over her former beau which then leads to her just enjoying sex with some of the boys—talk about an HR nightmare. By Halloween, she is humiliated at an after-work party; all the boys  are high-fiving over what they’ve done and all the girls are giving her the silent treatment as they call her salope (“slut”), including Aube.

Mégane comes to the rescue. She may not entirely agree with Charlotte’s past actions but she is the one to point out the hypocrisy. Staying true to her trouble-making ways, Mégane organizes a celibacy strike during November to counter the facial-hair charity drive the boys participate in. Reluctantly, the other female co-workers join in to get their revenge on the gossipy boys. From there, you have to see the outcome.

Being a guy, I was a little unnerved by the title until I saw the original French one, Charlotte a du Fun, which is worse; it sounds like a Seventies softcore porno flick a la Debbie Does Dallas. Plus “slut” is a charged, hurtful and often, unfair word hurled at mostly women. I do see the movie’s argument. However, I’ve never been fan of boys/men who have sex with scores of females at any point of my life neither. Not out of jealousy. I believe that people need to be careful for multiple reasons.

  • Accidents make people.
  • People do, and will, get their feelings hurt. Polyamory people are full of shit too.
  • It will always be a vector for disease to spread.

This doesn’t mean, don’t do this at all. Just be smart about it. With men, maybe I thought Hugh Hefner was cool…for about 10 minutes when I was 14. Beyond the authors and journalists he supported, Hefner was a disgusting creep for the last four decades of his life. Ditto for Wilt Chamberlin and other guys bragging about the notches on their six (really one) shooters. So these boys “sowing their wild oats” in Slut are insensitive pigs being taught a lesson I agree with. Enough of that discussion, other than, when female prostitutes are sentenced, their male clients should receive the same punishment, double if they’re public office holders or cops.

I also want to bring up the technical elements of the movie. It initially appears to be a Black & White flick but it really isn’t. As one Web site I visited (for research purposes) pointed out, it’s more of a Grayscale flick. Many visuals are fuzzy, not sharp as like a modern B&W made after the Sixties (Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, The Last Picture Show). Why? I think the director/writer left this up to the audience to decide. I never noticed. The thing which did get my attention immediately was the lack of adults present. Other than customers at the toy store’s registers, you never see any managers, parents or authority figures. This I’m confident to say was a conscious choice. It keeps the focus on the teens/young adults and avoids the clichés involving older people; they’re mean, they’re understanding, they’re clueless, etc.

My recommendation in the headline stands. Slut isn’t for anyone under 16 due to the subject matters but I think it’s a pretty original story and different in its execution compared to most drivel from Hollywood. An updated tale in the John Hughes vein.

Alamo Extras: French-speaking music videos from Martin Circus and Françoise Hardy; trailers for sex-romp movies H.O.T.S. and Foxes; some ballet-like dancing with umbrellas and a barbershop-like quartet in French (shows how boring French TV is); Story Corps telling the story of a Dominican woman meeting an Afghan man in Quebec; newsreel stuff during WWII highlighting how Quebec handled the conflict; Speedy Ortiz video; and videos of the actresses Marguerite Bouchard (Charlotte) and Rose Adam (Aube) trying Alamo’s fried pickles (they liked them) and playing Bang/Marry/Kill when they came to Austin to promote this movie.

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