Young & Lovely Movie Evaluation Roger Ebert


One of the destabilizing and pleasing factors of “Young and Beautiful,” a tale approximately a 17-12 months-old female named Isabelle (performed, hauntingly and correctly, by means of newcomer Marine Vacth) who comes to a decision to go to work as a prostitute is that creator-director Francois Ozon does now not hassle himself with seeking to diagnose, give an explanation for, or provide a backstory. There isn’t an inciting event that one may want to factor to and say, “This is why Isabelle does what she does.” Isabelle’s movements are supplied truely and nonjudgmentally, the camera following her up and down escalators, up and down hallways, and catching her mirrored mirrored image in numerous lodge rooms. “Young and Beautiful” has a totally formal and fashionable shape, damaged up into four seasonal chapters, every one connected to a thematically-appropriate Francoise Hardy pop music. The shape affords a large echoing area, evocative of the clean dissociation accompanying plenty of the sex seen within the movie. The temper is certainly one of craving restless formative years, from time to time depression and sometimes dangerous; familiar territory to Ozon. Ozon is inquisitive about what hormones can do when they first explode. Beyond that, we are left to determine. “Young and Beautiful” does not have the eerie energy of some of Ozon’s other movies, like “In the House” or “Swimming Pool,” but it is nonetheless a fascinating enjoy.

“Young and Beautiful” opens in summer with a middle-elegance French family on excursion by way of the seaside. Isabelle is first visible sunning topless on the seashore thru the lenses of binoculars held by using her more youthful brother Victor (Fantin Ravat). From the very first picture, we see Isabelle through every other’s eyes.  Victor trails alongside in the back of Isabelle, disturbed and intrigued by means of his sister’s blossoming sexuality, and looking all the details about the name of the game dates she’s having with a German hunk named Felix (Lucas Prisor). Isabelle doesn’t need to bring Felix domestic to satisfy her mother and father. He appears dumb as a field of rocks; they wouldn’t approve. So Victor presents distractions as she sneaks out of the house.

She loses her virginity to Felix at the seaside one night. We see her mendacity beneath him, and a glance of insufferable sadness and loneliness rises up into her beautiful face. She glances off to the side, and sees herself standing there, searching on. It is a curious and powerful second suggesting the extent of her dissociation. Her sexuality, at that younger age, is quite summary. She’s still a kid. She has emotions, she wants matters, dreams about things, and but the reality is completely one of a kind from what she imagined. Maybe she’s just glad to get it over with, but the picture of herself standing there at the beach, searching on, haunts the rest of the film.

The subsequent time we see Isabelle, she is returned inside the town together with her own family, starting her senior 12 months, and working as a prostitute after creating a profile on an person site that sets ladies up with customers. She meets those guys in diverse excessive-stop resort rooms, stealing a gray silk shirt from her mother to put on beneath her conservative blue healthy. She does not seem to get any satisfaction out of the sex, and goes thru the motions with a poker face. Her own family has money, so she is not doing it because of this. Some of her encounters with clients border at the weird, but the guys are visible as in most cases lonely men who need sure matters that she can offer. The encounters do not appear to the touch her.

Until she meets Georges (Johan Leysen), an aged man who will become a everyday. Their scenes together are excellent. He is curious about her, and she is detached and cold. But there’s a sort of tenderness that opens up among them, and she feels comfortable for the duration of her instances with him. When things with Georges cross south, alarmingly, hastily, she is shaken. Isabelle has committed her lifestyles to intercourse that has no which means, outdoor of the monetary reward. But some thing opens up within the air between her and Georges, via the sex, this is perhaps more adult than she is prepared to confront or even experience. The tension that comes from now not knowing why Isabelle has made those choices is beautiful. It does no longer condescend to the sexuality of its young lead. It is familiar with that 1/2 the time she absolutely doesn’t realize what she is doing. And isn’t always that so regularly the case whilst you are 17.

Interspersed with the scenes with customers, we see Isabelle in operation in her different lives: her circle of relatives, her dad and mom, her classmates. In one superb scene, Isabelle sits in an English class and the trainer starts a dialogue about Rimbaud’s poem “Novel,” which incorporates the traces:

No one’s severe at seventeen.

–On lovely nights whilst beer and lemonade

And loud, blinding cafés are the remaining thing you want

–You walk underneath inexperienced lindens on the prom.

In a scene that feels improvised, the students talk what the ones lines imply to them. They experience like real kids. When you are 17, you have no idea that your youngsters will no longer final forever; you have no know-how that you’ll look lower back in this unique “season” and perhaps see it a little bit in another way. Rimbaud’s poem enables crack open that truth for them. Isabelle does not take part within the discussion. “No one’s critical at seventeen,” Rimbaud? Well, she is. The secrets she continues are large and dangerous. Maybe it truly is the largest thrill of all in favour of her, displaying how close to formative years she nonetheless is. Having a mystery makes you experience powerful.

Her parents are caring people, and open-minded, however they don’t have any idea what is going on with their daughter. Isabelle’s mother (the brilliant Geraldine Pailhas) also has a mystery, and it isn’t found out until later within the film. Isabelle’s response to the truth of her mom’s sexuality, nonetheless in operation, nevertheless looking to get its desires met, is one among harm and loss. When her mom discovers Isabelle’s mystery, the comfortable family relationships smash aside, and the unstated knowledge that households “know” each other is shattered. Pailhas loses it, in a confrontation scene both painful and violent.

All of this could tip over into sheer melodrama in much less assured hands. Ozon keeps the info to a minimal, allowing us to just sit lower back and take a look at. There may be instances when we’re afraid for Isabelle, by myself in a resort room with those guys who need her to do certain things they will pay for. She is visible descending escalators into darkness or ascending into the light, carrying her massive faculty bag, dressed up in a fit that makes her appearance older, strolling down lush inn hallways together with her back to the camera. The film, from its first shot of her thru the binoculars, suggests how very precarious and exciting it can be, being a younger and beautiful girl.

Sheila O’Malley

Sheila O’Malley obtained a BFA in Theatre from the University of Rhode Island and a Master’s in Acting from the Actors Studio MFA Program. Read her solutions to our Movie Love Questionnaire here.

Young & Beautiful (2014)


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