Drama, 1 hr 21 min

When self-destructive Justine meets Rachel she sees the possibility of happiness, but her pain runs deep and the demons begin to surface.


Full of grit and inner turmoil, Justine is like a breath of fresh air in how original and realistic it plays out…

Justine, both the film and the character, may surprise you in more ways than one. Here is a young woman with bravado and seemingly no care in the world, yet if you hang around her long enough to learn about her backstory and motives (or lack thereof) in life, then you may come to appreciate that she has a backstory and constant inner struggle that haunts her every day. Here is a film that delves into serious issues and realistic traumas, without special effects nor unnecessary drama. You may even know a “Justine” or two in your life; this is a relatable story that definitely warrants some attention.

Written by Jeff Murphy, directed by Jamie Patterson, and accompanied by a great all-female soundtrack, Justine is the tale of a troubled young woman who on the surface appears to be doing okay. What happens behind closed doors or whilst the shop attendant is looking away, as well as the content of her water bottle would say otherwise. The film takes us on an emotional journey, not too jarring but not too pleasant, of instances that have and will hurt Justine (Tallulah Haddon) both physically and mentally. Love finds Justine in the form of Rachel (Sophie Reid) but love can be fleeting when inner demons such as fear and the lure of overseas job opportunities come a-knocking. This films sets up some life-defining questions for someone in grim circumstances. It engages the audience to empathise with the characters, to hope alongside them, as well as feel the weight of their disappointment and pain.

Full of grit and inner turmoil, Justine is like a breath of fresh air in how original and realistic it plays out. Very British in how outwardly blunt and in-your-face the story is; yet that much more captivating for it. “The past can be a terrible thing and I don’t particularly want one” says Justine, “everyone thinks about dying; it’s attractive not feeling anything”. Such statements are delivered so naturally with incredible acting by Tallulah Haddon that it is entirely believable that such heavy words could come from the young Justine despite having “her whole life ahead of her”. I believe it is high time that we recognise that people who drown their sorrows with alcohol are driven by their sorrows and not the addiction itself. Justine explains “when I drink I really love myself and I feel safe”, she also confesses that she is “just a coward with a big mouth”. Immersed in pain and crippled by fear, can Justine “sort her shit out”? Can this one life with multiple challenges make a turn for the better when love beckons? Sometimes one must fight to the bitter end, and the strongest weapon is hope. The film opens with a quote from Ovid, Heroides: “Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.” I encourage you to take a chance on Justine and watch the film to find out how she fares.

If you’ve enjoyed watching insightful coming-of-age dramas like Cocoon or Netflix series Trinkets, or deep-seated character studies like T11 Incomplete, then Justine could enthral you too.

In light of the issues raised in this film, I have attached some links that may be helpful to those impacted by alcoholism:


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Writer, Reviewer, Social

Ping believes in the power of love and kindness, and that "love is love" no matter what shape or form it comes in. She would like to see positive representation for all walks of life in film and media.