Young & Beautiful

Young & Beautiful

Starring: Marine Vacth, Geraldine Paihas, Charlotte Rampling.

Director: Francois Ozon

Rating: 4.5/5

Francois Ozon has always been a director who has delivered fascinating character and relationship driven movies and that trend looks set to continue with his latest film Young & Beautiful.

The movie follows the story of seventeen-year-old Isabelle (Marine Vacth) over a single year as she starts to explore her sexuality. It goes from losing her virginity to choosing a life of prostitution.

This is a typical slow moving drama from Ozon, as he tackles what could be a very controversial subject with care. In less experienced hands, Young & Beautiful could just have been another of those hooker dramas, and yet he has made it a careful portrait of a teenager exploring her sexuality.

The movie features a fantastic central performance from Marine Vacth in the role of Isabelle: she really is an actress to keep an eye out for over the next few years.

From the very start Isabelle is an intriguing character who feels that she perhaps doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of her family.

It is an ambiguous performance from Vacth as Isabelle moves between feeling confidence and excitement with the path that she has chosen, to one of real regret and confusion.

Isabelle is not a young woman who has been forced into a life of prostitution but has chosen it for herself - which is an issue that we don’t often see tackled on the big screen.

One of the most interesting relationships in the movie is that between Isabelle and her mother Sylvie - played wonderfully by Geraldine Paihas. It is a relationship that is pushed to breaking point when Paihas’ character discovers what has daughter has been doing.

This leads to some fantastically charged scenes between mother and daughter as Sylvie desperately tries to understand why Isabelle has chosen this life.

Ozon has delivered a movie that is both intelligently and beautifully told as well as shot, but is driven forward by an incredibly interesting central character.

However, what really makes this film work is its ambiguity; we never learn what drives Isabelle to make the decisions that she does: this leaves the audience to make their own conclusions about this fascinating character.

Ozon has delivered a great coming of age drama that is completely different to any other movie that we have seen in this genre so far this year.

Ozon is a filmmaker who is not afraid to avoid giving all of the answers and shows that people are mysterious and make decisions that we may not always be able to understand or comprehend. This really was a very intriguing watch.

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