I’ll try to limit myself to revealing handiest the first 20 mins of plot specifics in Young & Beautiful, the new French drama from auteur writer-director Francois Ozon. I had the best fortune to enter it essentially bloodless, and the “Holy shit they’re going that course?!” moments start coming pretty speedy.
The film opens on an idyllic holiday one family is taking over a French beach. The daughter, Isabelle (Marine Vacth), is celebrating her seventeenth birthday, and flirting with Felix (Lucas Prisor), a boyishly handsome German youngster who’s additionally cavorting approximately the seaside town. Isabelle does now not like to confess to the connection, and dismisses Felix in discussions with her curious mother (Géraldine Pailhas) and laid-again stepfather (Frédéric Pierrot).
Isabelle is more open with her little brother Victor (Fantin Ravat), who is careening into puberty himself and as a result unsurprisingly interested in the goings on of his elder sibling. The movie isn’t always coy about the underlying sexual anxiety of this alternate – Victor spies on Isabelle whilst she’s sunbathing topless at one factor, and at every other momentarily stumbles upon her masturbating – but Ozon maintains a corporation tonal manipulate and does not permit subjects slip into exploitation.
Then Isabelle loses her virginity to Felix one night at the seashore, and it does not go well: it’s consensual and the young man is trying – he strokes Isabelle’s hair and kisses her cheek – however he in the end does no longer recognize what he’s doing. There’s no eye touch, and the intercourse is surely abrupt, uncomfortable, and unsightly for the young lady. In a in particular unnerving second, Isabelle looks off down the sand simplest to look an apparition of her herself impassively looking at the lawsuits.
After that, the holiday ends, the own family returns to the metropolis, and the movie jumps ahead to autumn. At which factor, in reaction to whatever psychological ripple outcomes were spark off by using the come upon with Felix, Isabelle has come to be a excessive-end prostitute. She calls herself “Lea,” visits all her customers at diverse accommodations, and monitors them herself via a internet site profile. She tells the johns – all drastically older guys – that she’s 20, however it’s quite apparent maximum of them understand better. Events, needless to say, spiral on from there in methods each predictable and now not.
There’s obviously a good deal of sex and nudity, and yes it’s a bit bizarre that it’s alleged to be an underage person (even though Vacth herself is in her early 20s). Some of it cannot assist however be arousing, but again Ozon knows what he’s doing, retaining a clinical stance this is neither inflamed nor scandalized by Isabelle’s behavior – just intrigued. Vacth herself is a former model, and arguably now not gifted with substantial appearing variety. But she internalizes Isabelle well, and among her overall performance, the script, and Ozon’s route, Young & Beautiful turns Isabelle right into a challenging and impervious riddle.
There’s a gentle suggestion she might be taking after her mom, her became also a wild toddler in her teens. But both Isabelle’s mother and father seem like sane human beings doing the high-quality they can, and her home life is with the aid of all bills healthy.
The movie isn’t always so subversive as to come back proper out and say there’s not anything terribly radical about what Isabelle is doing – that her prostitution is really a greater difficult version of the sexual exploration all younger human beings undergo – however the implication is there. Several of the men are creepy, however Isabelle thankfully never appears to stumble upon any actual violence or attack. So sure, it’s a risky enterprise, as a number of the dialogue factors out. But so too are mountain cycling or cave diving or football or a host of other activities.
The unhappiness really creeps in with the perversion of human communion that prostitution almost inherently involves. One of Isabelle’s johns, Georges (Johan Leysen), is greater caring and humane than the others, and you may feel a sort of connection among the 2 straining against the bounds put in place by using the character of the relationship. In an observant scene past due in the movie, Isabelle visits a neighborhood birthday party of her fellow teenagers, and the nearly-endearing bacchanal silliness contrasts nicely with Isabelle’s different activities: this is how self-discovery must proceed for the young.
Human sexuality is a structural pressure, a factor that exists in the international. Which approach it has its personal policies no matter our purpose, so we can hurt ourselves and others by wielding it unwisely. Felix wields that electricity over Isabelle, after which she is going directly to wield it over others. As they’re each younger, they are of direction not malevolent – and Isabelle particularly is sympathetic – and that they have little idea what they’re doing. The hardest components of the film are while Isabelle receives so over excited with her newfound power that she begins threatening the stableness of different relationships round her. She becomes for a time a toddler with a loaded gun: she’s so enthralled through the factor that she forgets who she’s pointing it at, or what would possibly take place if she without a doubt slipped up and pulled the cause. In a few ways it’s a coming of age story, with Isabelle’s arc as a particular brute come upon with those information.
It might be a bit a whole lot to pin all of Isabelle’s selections inside the movie to the unpleasantness of losing her virginity. But it does appear to feature as a loss of religion; the invention that even some thing as romanticized as younger and enthusiastically consensual sexual desire can however turn lonely and adverse. Having stuck an surprising and unsettling glimpse into the particular abyss, it’s as though Isabelle canott forestall searching – and down the rabbit hole she is going. So the contrast to mountain cycling or excessive sports activities is apt. This a younger individual defining herself by way of trying out her limits; in search of self-discovery in extremis.https://www.youtube.com/embed/IzSJ5mijWyA?function=oembed