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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Monday, July 06, 2015

Movie Review - Young and Beautiful

Young & Beautiful (Jeune & jolie) (2014)
Starring Marine Vacth, Géraldine Pailhas, Frédéric Pierrot, Fantin Ravat, Johan Leysen, and Charlotte Rampling  
Directed by François Ozon
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

The French are always so much more open about sexuality in their movies than Americans and Young  & Beautiful continues this well-known axiom.  Young -- and beautiful -- Isabelle (Marine Vacth) has just celebrated her 17th birthday and one present she gave to herself was losing her virginity to a flirtatious German fling during her family's summer beach vacation.  However, the deflowering had little to no effect on Isabelle as she finds herself oddly emotionally detached from her first sexual experience, garnering no pleasure, pain, or any modicum of satisfaction.  Perhaps because of this blasé attitude, Isabelle decides to become an escort -- as any seventeen year-old would.  As she moves from job to job, her aloofness regarding her sexual exploits is gradually diminished thanks to an ongoing paid "relationship" with a much older man who begins to make her understand the connection sex has to offer...but this unfortunately comes to an end much too soon for Isabelle's preferences.

Even if I were to set aside the oddness of a heretofore virginal seventeen year-old deciding that the sex trade is the right thing for her, the biggest problem with Young & Beautiful is the fact that by the time the film's conclusion rolls around, I'm not sure what the point of the whole thing was for Isabelle.  I'm not certain that she learns anything or feels anything or gives a damn about anything that happens to her.  There's not a bit of an arc for Isabelle and since she's squarely the focus of the film, an arc is ultimately necessary and this flick has nothing there for its main character.  Because of this, Young & Beautiful broods blandness and sullenness.  When your main character doesn't grow from her particularly unique set of experiences -- there are some pivotal plot-driven things that happen to her that should cause her to mature -- you're left feeling empty...and bored.

The RyMickey Rating:  D+

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