Can only really add to existing testimonies; strong performers, energy and an appallingly miserable ending. Also not sure we needed the beautifying routine, poised not as an act of self-love but instead as weaponised sexuality. I really wanted it to take its wealth-aspirations in a new direction other than the ol' crime don't pay. I don't want to dismiss its otherwise strong visual and character details!
Basing the girls' friendship on Laurel and Hardy, Benyamina, a former hairdresser and "self-taught" director, cast her sister in the lead as Dounia and matched her with another unknown actress. That kind of confidence is as impressive as the resultant film, which is brash, stylish, and despite an overwrought ending, a thrill to watch. The dance performances added another unexpected but well received element.
I love the actors in this film, and I liked the dancing and there was even one really clever line that made me laugh. The rest of it is a bunch of cliches from every other Hood Movie from the 90's, just with female French gangsters. Watchable. Not very original though.
Combining The Dardennes' working class sensibilities and von Trier's art of human tragedy, DIVINES might be the best Netflix Original to date. Not to mention that this is also one of the most powerful debut feature ever, coming from Houda Benyamina (remember her name, you may). Oulaya Amamra is a revelation.
Awesome believable performances full of life and spontaneity from the two leads here set against a backdrop of harsh survivalist reality. I didn't care for the dancer or the dancing strand and I kind of wish they'd gotten away with it instead of the to-be-expected tragedy. 3 stars
One of the year's best. Benyamina's film (a Camera d'or winner) crackles with audacity, topicality and intensity in its tale of a young teen trying to make some cash and a life for herself in a society that limits her potential. The director's sister, Oulaya Amamra, makes an outstanding debut here as Dounia capturing the determination and vitality of her character but also the self doubt and fear of coming of age.