Marine Vacth Gives an Awsome Performance in the French Movie, “Young and Beautiful”
On April 24th, 2014, the New York Times reviewed Marine Vacth’s performance in her movie, “Young & Beautiful,” a film from the French director François Ozon. When the movie begins, “it begins with a shot, through binoculars, of a young woman, a sunbathing topless on a beach.”
“Voyeurism is clearly on the list, and Mr. Ozon seems to be teasing out some of its creepy implications when he reveals that the binoculars belong to the sunbather’s younger brother. But what is most striking about this movie is how un-self-conscious it is as it conducts a prurient and superficial inquiry into adolescent female sexuality.
Marine Vacth, the girl on the beach, is about to turn 17. On vacation with her mother, stepfather, and nosy little brother, she loses her virginity to a German guy named Felix. She seems a bit bored by him and by the experience, as she does by most things, concealing her emotions behind a mask of sullen affectlessness.
There is a tradition of French movies that juxtapose prostitution with ordinary middle-class life and an overlapping practice of movies whose middle-aged male directors much interest young women’s mysterious desires and unclothed bodies. “Young & Beautiful” adheres to both traditions in the most generic way imaginable. It’s about as revelatory as its title and isn’t much to look at.”
Of course, the Times ultimately misses the point; this is not a film about pedophilia. The French distinction has long embraced middle-aged male directors working with young women who manifest with little threads; The Lolita novel and movie come to mind.
Roger Ebert’s reviewer writes, “The mood is one of yearning troubled adolescence, sometimes melancholy and sometimes dangerous; familiar territory to Ozon. Ozon is interested in what hormones can do when they first explode.
We think the movie was very sensual and arousing. Vacth gives an excellent performance. She played the role perfectly. This movie is not about prostitution or the “mindset of a middle-aged male director working with young women who present with little clothes.”
The reviewer would have the reader believe that Ozon’s is a sick man who preys on young girls: This is a corpulent and disingenuous depiction of the movie and the director.