Young & Beautiful (Jeune & Jolie)

Marine Vacth is quite possibly the most picturesque French female appearing on screen in many a year, taking the title previously held by puffy faced cutie, Adèle Exarchopoulos.

The leading actress of Young & Beautiful has a strange likeness to a young Johanna Lumley crossed with Alexa Chung, and is just spectacular to watch as she writhes about, mostly naked in this picture.

As the film’s title – translated to Young & Beautiful – and my previous perverted spiel demonstrates, Vacth plays a mid-teen (though she’s 23 in real life) and is very nice to look at. The obvious prompts by creator, director and writer, François Ozon begin here.

The young Isabelle (Vacth) is well-off. She is stubborn and moody as most young females can be at 16. Her 17th birthday is spent on a beachside holiday with her parents. She lures a handsome German boy and loses her virginity. She doesn’t enjoy it.

Time passes and we observe Isabella as a suited, made-up ‘woman’ entering an expensive hotel suite to meet with a client who she fucks for a few hundred euros and then returns to her unsuspecting family. The story continues in similar fare.

I would draw a loose likeness to Sleeping Beauty (the 2011 flick starring Emily Browning, not the Disney film) in the film’s narrative and leading character profile, but I found that to be a far superior film in terms of suspense and drama. Isabella, in Young & Beautiful is portrayed as naive and so melancholic that her double-life seems almost insignificant – she doesn’t really care what she’s doing, neither do her parents, and neither did I really.

The lack of emotional engagement as well as the obvious, abrupt chapter use were the main drawbacks of the film. The 90’s TV drama soundtrack of the film also felt really dated, so much so that it was distracting.

This being said, I did really enjoy watching Marine Vacth, especially as she interrogated her brother, Victor (Fantin Ravat) about masturbation and seeing their strangely intimate relationship unfold. It is a beautifully shot film, with many sequences of intense encounters with silver haired clients paired with pretty Paris scenery. It is perhaps a good date movie to get you in the mood, but definitely not as thought-provoking as I had hoped.

Young & Beautiful will be released in Australia on May 1st. 



Young & Beautiful review by Carol Bowditch.