Francois Ozon’s last masterpiece “Young and beautiful” could be renamed by F.Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Beautiful and Damned”, because in this movie, beauty reveals itself as a damnation. In his fifteenth movie, Ozon portrays a 17-year-old’s identity crisis, throughout 4 seasons and 4 songs (by Françoise Hardy). The actress and model Marine Vacth plays the lead role, Isabelle. She is a high school student at Henri IV (one of the best Parisian high-school) and comes from a Bourgeois and wealthy family. The movie starts during the summer holidays in Cannes. Isabelle meets Felix, with whom she has her first intercourse. Back in Paris, she seeks more exciting sexual adventures. So, when an older man offers to pay her for sex, she succumbs to temptation. She likes it and decides to create a profile on a prostitution website, to attract more clients. She multiplies her meetings, and manages to keep her illegal activities hidden from her family, until one of her clients dies in her presence. The police recognize her from CCTV cameras and go to her household and alert her parents.She doesn’t even spend the money she earns. She only charges for the pleasure of being paid. Isabelle enjoys prostitution, not necessarily for sex, but to trespass boundaries, have a forbidden appointment, and leave a man after offering him her body.
“Young and Beautiful” is not at all vulgar, and the theme of prostitution is used only to talk first and foremost of teenage hood.
Written by Anoushka Ravanshad, cinema contributor for The Parisian Flair
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