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Young and Beautiful

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Young & Beautiful (French: Jeune & Jolie) is a 2013 French drama film of adolescent sexuality directed by François Ozon and produced by Eric and Nicolas Altmayer. The film stars Marine Vacth in the leading role of Isabelle, a teenage prostitute, and features supporting performances by Johan Leysen, Géraldine Pailhas, Frédéric Pierrot, and Charlotte Rampling. The film was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, and received praise from the film critics. It was shown at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.


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While on a summer holiday with her family in the south of France, 17-year-old Isabelle decides to lose her virginity to a cute German boy named Felix. The experience leaves her unsatisfied. By autumn she is working as a prostitute at high-class hotels under the name Lea. Among Isabelle's clients is a 63-year-old man named Georges (Johan Leysen), whom she likes. He dies of a heart attack while they are having sex with Isabelle on top. Isabelle tries to resuscitate him, then leaves. In winter the police turn up and inform her mother, Sylvie, about Isabelle being a prostitute and Georges's death. Sylvie flies into a rage and repeatedly slaps Isabelle before apologising and grounding her. Isabelle is forced to give a statement to the police. She says she was first approached by a man on the street to have sex for money, but found it disgusting. After seeing a report about students making money as prostitutes she set up a website, bought a second phone and went into business. As a minor she is the victim and won't be charged, but her mother will keep the money. Sylvia takes Isabelle to see a therapist (Serge Hefez) to help her deal with what happened, including her guilt because she thinks she killed Georges.

After Isabelle quits prostitution she lives a normal teenage life and works as a babysitter. In spring, she meets Alex at a party and they start dating. They have sex with Isabelle on top and she has to help him out. Afterwards she breaks up with Alex saying she doesn't love him. Isabelle reactivates her phone's sim card and checks messages for Lea from clients. Georges's widow Alice (Charlotte Rampling) found Lea's number in her husband's address book and requested an appointment at the hotel. When she arrives, Alice explains the situation and says she wants to see the room and meet the girl Georges was with when he died. She doesn't blame Isabelle because she knew he saw other women, was ill and thinks dying making love is a beautiful death. They go to the room and Alice tells Isabelle to leave her clothes on and lie with her on the bed. Isabelle says she needed to come here too. Alice kindly caresses Isabelle's face; Isabelle falls asleep. She wakes up alone looking more at peace.


  • Marine Vacth as Isabelle
  • Johan Leysen as Georges Ferriere, Isabelle's elderly client
  • Frédéric Pierrot as Patrick, Isabelle's stepfather
  • Géraldine Pailhas as Sylvie, Isabelle's mother
  • Nathalie Richard as Véronique
  • Charlotte Rampling as Alice, Georges' widow
  • Akéla Sari as Mouna
  • Lucas Prisor as Felix, a German tourist
  • Fantin Ravat as Victor, Isabelle's brother
  • Laurent Delbecque as Alex
  • Carole Franck as The Cop
  • Reception

    Upon its premiere at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, Young & Beautiful received critical acclaim. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter praised Vacth's leading role and predicted that the film would "land her major exposure on the casting radar". While drawing comparisons to Ozon's 2012 film In the House Rooney wrote, "[U]nlike that playful Hitchcockian quasi-thriller, Young & Beautiful is both more carnal and more sober, suggesting the danger and fragility inherent in the central character’s experimentation while keeping the dramatic intensity subdued." Leslie Felperin of Variety noted that the film was "a nuanced, emotionally temperate study of a precocious youth" and added that "its elegant execution will win warm regard [and the] subject matter should lure audiences at art houses worldwide."

    Derek Malcolm of London Evening Standard wrote that Ozon was successful in "directing the slim and striking Vacth through a series of sex scenes, and also showing how the girl doesn’t really know what she is doing even when pretty experienced in the art of seduction." While being appreciative of the film as a whole, Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian noted that the film was a "luxurious fantasy of a young girl's flowering: a very French and very male fantasy, like the pilot episode of the world's classiest soap opera."

    Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 77% based on reviews from 35 critics.


    The film tells the story of takes place over the course of a year and is divided into four segments, each separated by a song of Françoise Hardy.


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