Film Review: ‘Young & Beautiful’

Marine Vacth

Before she began acting, Marine Vacth maintained a successful modeling career, and she has the impassive presence of a cover girl. This is not a knock; in François Ozon’s Young & Beautiful, Vacth’s camera-ready and oft-naked presence, so ready to be gazed upon and consumed, is a boon to the film’s exploration of a disoriented teenager’s journey into a dark realm.

She plays Isabelle, the heroine of this tale of four seasons. In the opening summer segment, 17-year-old Isabelle loses her virginity while on vacation—Ozon depicts her standing outside herself during the act, as though sizing up the possibilities for future use (she certainly isn’t enjoying the sex). By autumn, Isabelle has utilized the Internet to build a stable of clients for her sex business, charging men 300 Euros for an afternoon in a hotel room. Her mother (Géraldine Pailhas) and stepfather (Frédéric Pierrot) notice nothing, except that Isabelle seems to be showering a lot.

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