Review: “Year of the Carnivore” (2009)

A film by Sook-Yin Lee

“Year of the Carnivore” is a coming of age film about Sammy, played by Cristin Milioti.  She is a grocery store detective and is a tomboy and quirky.  Sammy feels different from everyone else because she was ill as a child and has a slight limp.  Her parents are constantly reminding her that the world is not a safe place and she is better off at home.  They want her to quit her job because they think it is dangerous.   Her main goal is try to figure out how she can attract the attention of Eugene (Mark Rendall).  Eugene is an aspiring musician and lets Sammy know that he is not interested in a relationship and that love is a sickness.  His father was heartbroken by his philandering mother and warns him to never get married.  He tells her to just forget about him and get some experience with other people.  Eugene wants to remain friends but gets jealous when he sees Sammy with other men.  She sets out to experiment and her adventure takes many twists and turns.  Sammy gets advice from some unlikely characters including customers that she catches shoplifting.  They obviously don’t want to get busted so they are willing to teach her a little about sex in exchange for letting them go.  Although, when she tries this stunt with one particular customer she gets an unwelcome surprise.

She gets some help from her friend Mrs. Nakamura.  She is an older woman that doesn’t get out so Sammy helps her and walks her dog.  Mrs. Nakamura is very frank and tells her that she just needs to have fun and get some variety.  She lends Sammy some clothes so she can dress more like a lady.  They both find a way to grow and have fun in their unlikely friendship.

I enjoyed the understated comedy in the film.  You want to root for Sammy because she is so awkward and just trying to find her way.  Sook-Yin Lee’s directing style is straight forward and gets you quickly interested in the characters.  Lee is a former VJ for Much Music in Canada and seems to have made a seamless transition into film.  Lee has created a fun and lighthearted film that keeps you entertained from start to finish.

“Year of the Carnivore” was written and directed by Sook-Yin Lee.

(Coming up soon!  I review the 2010 documentary “Bag It,” directed by Suzan Beraza and written by Michelle Curry Wright.)


Lotus Wollschlager is the official Her Film movie reviewer.  Find her bio on the. HF.Reviews page.

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