TIFF 2013 Review: Young & Beautiful
Young & Beautiful
It’s through binoculars that we first catch sight of Isabelle, the title coquette, as she sunbathes topless on a French beach. She is 17, impressionable, curious, yet independent. Her casual summer relationship with a German jock, with whom she loses her virginity, begins her emotional, intellectual, and sexual maturation. In that first experience, Isabelle removes herself, watching the scene unfold with an empty gaze.
Director Francois Ozon presents this coming-of-age story across one year, with each season seemingly a change in the life of the mysterious Isabelle. We watch as she disregards emotion, giving up her body to the rich in exchange for money. She lies about her age and name and hides her secret prostituted life from family and friends. Perhaps though she does let feelings seep in, becoming rather warm to an older gent obsessed with her beauty.
Marine Vacth gives a very open and honest performance as Isabelle, a girl skirting the thin line between complete control and utter chaos. She is a captivating actress with an ability to be funny and tragic in the same breath, oscillating between seductress and fledging.
Odd moments riddle the film, and it’s not just the curious selections of music that end each season. Isabelle’s changing relationships with various males, including her little brother and stepfather, are peculiar. Laughter is bred from youthful confusion and adult desires. Like the seasons, though, it’s fairly predictable, even if Isabelle isn’t sure of what she is doing from one moment to the next.
Saturday September 7 – Visa Screening Room (Elgin) – 6:00 PM
Sunday September 15 – TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 – 6:00 PM