Young & Beautiful
François Ozon, 2013

Last movie of 2013, and since it doesn't have a Skandies rank, I'm not entirely sure how it wound up on my list — my guess is that I read a good review, clicked over to one of the online movie databases, and was entranced by the pretty girl on the poster.  And then promptly forgot what was in the review, because I wound up being surprised by every plot twist when I did get around to watching the movie three years later.

I don't have much to say about this one, but I won't have anything to say if I don't reveal the first of those plot twists, so here goes.  We first meet Isabelle on a family vacation on the Côte d'Azur.  She's about to turn seventeen and feels like it's about time she lost her virginity, so she has sex on the beach with a random German boy she's been flirting with.  So far it looks like this will be a standard-issue French coming-of-age movie, perhaps with a focus on the relationship between Isabelle and her little brother, who is a major character in the first act.  Then we hit a title screen announcing that it is now autumn, and we discover that in the intervening handful of weeks, Isabelle has become a prostitute.  If you looked at that poster, you know what she looks like — or, y'know, you can read the title of the movie and get a pretty good idea — so you can probably guess that she is a prostitute of the "high-priced call girl" variety rather than the "standing on a seedy street corner" variety.  As noted, there are a few extra plot twists from there, but as you can also probably guess, one of them is that her mother finds out and asks her, "Baby, what for? I give you plenty, why do you want more? Baby, why are you a teenage whore?" or French words to that effect.  And this turns out to be one of those movies in which someone acts out in an extreme way and the "why" is never explained — it basically throws a shrug emoticon at the viewer and says, "Humans… who truly understands 'em?"  To be fair, there are a few hints sprinkled in: Isabelle seems to have a dissociation episode while having sex for the first time, and based on that and a few things she lets slip later on, it looks to me like she turns to prostitution because the thrill of the mystery and danger of meeting with strange men lets her at least feel something.  But maybe my interpretation is biased by the fact that I am anhedonic.  I know that lack of feel, sis.

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