review by Bobby Blakey
I love a good revenge flick, but when you add the element of women empowerment it often times takes it to insane new directions as showcased in films like the infamous I Spit On Your Grave. The latest looking to tackle that similar ideal is M.F. A. starring Francesca Eastwood (daughter of Clint Eastwood), Clifton Collins Jr., and Leah McKendrick, but does it offer up a powerful story or will it be one that fails to install the internal power it hopes for?
M.F.A. follows a timid and withdrawn, Noelle, a California fine arts graduate student, who is an outcast having trouble to socially fit in and to impress her fellow painters with her work. Under those circumstances, the thrilled Noelle will accept an invitation to a party by a handsome classmate she has a crush on, only to be lured into his room and be viciously assaulted. As she leaves the house a different woman and an unexpected surge of inspiration will gradually fuel both her stagnant artistic expression and her thirst for revenge on those who destroyed the lives of innocent women. I am not fully sure what I was expecting for this film other than I had hoped for some hardcore vengeance for the atrocities of these guys. While the film does deliver a decent story and some toned down revenge, it never fully achieved the violent levels I had hoped.
This doesn’t make it a bad film and in actually probably made it stand out as something a bit more real. Sure there are some over the top moments to be had, but as a whole it tried to stay grounded in realism. This is a film that is especially relevant sadly right now and this film seems to attempt to try and touch on the good and bad of these situations and how to handle them. The story works well enough, although it does drag a bit at times, but still manages to work when all is done.
There are some predictable moments and they could have really offered up something that stood out on its own as opposed to going down some of these directions, but as a whole it works.