Young & Beautiful Explores the World of a Young French Prostitute
Despite his superficial unpredictability from film to film, François Ozon's work often examines sexual states of flux, especially among teens and young women.
His latest, Young & Beautiful, explores the world of Isabelle (Marine Vacth), a 17-year-old who loses her virginity and starts turning tricks a few months later. The film is organized in four sections, each tied to a season and ending with a Françoise Hardy song. In summer, Isabelle hangs out on the beach and has a casual fling with a German boy.
In autumn, she's suddenly become a prostitute, a leap made in so jarringly elliptical a manner it would make Maurice Pialat proud. In winter, she quits hooking after a tragic incident. On the surface, Ozon makes no judgments about his heroine, but there's an underlying moralism: While I'm not suggesting that he should condone underage prostitution, there's something gratuitously cruel about the way the dangers of sex work rebound on one of her johns.