Oh, Very Young One: The Film, “Young and Beautiful”

Young and Beautiful is a palatable 2013 film by the French director-writer Francois Ozon.

Seventeen-year-old Isabelle (Marine Vacth) loses her virginity to a German boy, sans any love for him, and then begins to offer sex for money.  Learning about this understandably drives her mother up a wall; of course Isabelle is forced to visit a therapist, but the sad truth is that the girl is a prostitute because she wants to be a prostitute.  At length, however, she moves beyond naked sex in the interest of finding a person to genuinely love.

Lucid, nicely photographed and inevitably erotic, Ozon’s movie strongly implies that it no longer means anything for art to be transgressive.  What is transgressive is people’s behavior, which always means something.  What it means ultimately is up to the artist as he or she tries to establish a theme or themes.  Ozon is equipped for this, and in Jeune et Jolie (the French title) he has a better film, I believe, than Under the Sand and Swimming Pool.  He has an intelligent film.

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