hile on a family summer holiday to celebrate her 17th birthday, Isabelle (Marine Vacth) decides to lose her virginity to a local hunk, and seems generally disappointed by the whole event. Upon returning back to her home town, she quickly becomes a high-end prostitute, making tens of thousands of euros in just a few months. However, when one of her regular customers dies of heart attack while they're in bed together, the police soon get involved and inform her mother of her daughter's actions.
rom that point on, you would think that Jeune Et Joile (Young & Beautiful) would have endless potential for where to take the story next. Instead, the film just kind rambles aimlessly, having given up telling any more story, and happy to just show stuff happening without much in the way of reasoning or consequence.
riter/director Francois Ozon has touched upon how the French deal with their sex and sexuality in his movies before, and here he gets more explicit than ever, never shying away from the realities of Isabelle's chosen profession, even if her worst day in work merely involves a rude client doesn't pay the full amount.
hat Ozon does shy away from is any kind of answers, or any kind of resolution. Why is Isabelle suddenly a prostitute? We know she's from a loving, wealthy family, and when asked the question directly, her answer amounts to little more than 'Because I felt like it.' There are also a lot of loose threads just left dangling, such as Isabelle's odd relationship with her possibly sexually confused younger brother, or the apparent affair her mother is having with a family friend. All these items of interest are shown to us, letting us know they exist, before the film moves on, never to mention them again.
aybe that's the point, though? Sexuality can be difficult to understand, or can be so simplistic that it doesn't require explanation. Ozon gets a fantastic performance from the stunningly beautiful Vacth, who manages to be both vacant and profoundly deep all at once. Which also doubles up as an apt description for the movie itself.