By Leah Greenblatt
March 28, 2019 at 03:05 PM EDT
© Amérique Film, Inc.

 Charlotte (Marguerite Bouchard) is a girl in love with love — until her boyfriend, in a terribly timed postcoital moment, confesses that he’s pretty sure he’s gay.

Wailing to her best friends Mégane (Romane Denis) and Aube (Rose Adam) that she’ll either win him back or never surrender her heart again, she finds a third option instead: “Cut out the drama,” advises the fiercely libertine Mégane, “and just… live free.”

That’s pretty much what happens in Quebecoise director’s Sophie Lorain’s charmingly scrappy French-language dramedy — a coming-of-age that dares to allow teenage girls their sexuality without judgment, but also without some false presumption that most of the world wouldn’t be doing exactly that: judging.

Shot in creamy black-and-white, the story follows all three as they find jobs at a big-box warehouse that also apparently doubles as an eligible-boy factory; the work might be minimum-wage drudgery, but what happens in the aisles and stockrooms is more like a millennial Midsummer Night’s Dream: while the work gets done, wordplay and flirtations fly.

Soon Charlotte has decided to become her own kind of carnal musketeer, sleeping with as many cute coworkers as she can. And it seems like the perfect heartbreak recovery plan — until the rubberband of real-world consequences snaps back. That’s when the inevitable hurt feelings and friendship betrayals kick in, and the plot takes a turn toward a Lysistrata-style sex strike.

Even in its most serious moments, the movie feels like a romp, quickly fizzing past the heaviness of too many teachable moments. And even if Lorain’s tidy ending is more than a little idealized, Slut is far more gratifying and empowering than most of the material Hollywood’s Lolita Industrial Complex turns out when it comes to young women’s sexuality. Whatever the title says, it’s not about good or bad; it’s about every girl’s right to choose her own labels, or none at all. B+

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