Francois Ozon’s latest film is a study of a slender 17-year-old schoolgirl, Isabelle (Marine Vacth), who, after losing her virginity on vacation, starts exploring sex her own way. Unbeknownst to her affectionate but clueless parents, she buys an extra cellphone and sets up her own escort business. Without either sexual pleasure or financial need, she arranges paid assignations with older men in fancy hotels as a kind of game. Filmgoers may recognize the film as a junior version of the once-shocking 1967 Luis Bunuel film Belle de Jour, starring Catherine Deneuve as an icily elegant bourgeois wife with a secret erotic life as a call girl. Though Young & Beautiful may push a few moral panic buttons and actress Vacth is excellent, this coming-of-age drama about the power and dangers of keeping secrets is essentially skin-deep, albeit with very pretty skin.
At VIFF: Oct. 5, 9:15 pm, Playhouse; Oct. 10, 1 pm, Playhouse.