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Film / Jeune & jolie

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Jeune & Jolie (Young & Beautiful) is a French film directed by François Ozon starring actress Marine Vacth in the lead role. The film was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Festival.

The movie tells the story of Isabelle, a beautiful and mysterious seventeen year old teenager, who is beginning to explore her sexuality. The film takes place over the course of a year and is divided into four segments, each separated by a song by Françoise Hardy. The arc of the film covers Isabelle's journey of losing her virginity and choosing a life of prostitution under the alias Léa.

The film explores recurring themes of François Ozon filmography: complex female characters, alternative sexuality (here prostitution) and the struggle of living it in mainstream society. It was noted for its provocative theme, its stylish direction and the performance of the then-beginner actress Marine Vacth.


Contains examples of:

  • Ambiguous Ending: The movie is remarkable in that it does not explain or judge Isabelle's motives for being a prostitute (Money? Pleasure? Power? Daddy issues? Attention?).
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Downplayed. There are some tensions between Isabelle and her younger brother (he spies on her when she masturbates, he asks her insistantly if she is in love with Felix...), but they generally get along well together.
  • Bumbling Dad: Isabelle and Victor's step dad who goes from awkward to more awkward incidents with his step-children.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Isabelle by her brother Victor. And later, Victor by his step-dad.
  • Coming of Age Story: the movie begins with the birthday of Isabelle and ends with the "Spring" segment suggesting rebirth.
  • Creepy Child: Isabelle. At one point, her mother confesses her daughter disgusts her. She says that she is depraved.
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  • Deadpan Snarker: Isabelle. Especially once her activities has been revealed, she seems to really enjoy referencing half-jokingly her prostitution activities.
    Sylvie: I was your age once. I was wild too.
    Isabelle: Yeah? Were you a whore too?
  • Disappeared Dad: Implied by the psychoanalyst to be a possible reason of Isabelle's behaviour. Although the film does not really seem to believe it. Possibly a semi-ironic Lampshade Hanging on this cheap and easy Daddy Issues explanation.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Possibly. A recurring motif throughout the movie is Isabelle looking at herself in mirrors. It may or may not suggest that she prostitutes herself out of vanity or to test the seduction power that her youth and beauty bestow upon her. In the last scene, her gaze goes from her reflection in a mirror to the outside world through a window. This may suggest that she is growing out of this.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Alex, arguably the failed attempt of Isabelle at living a normal teenager romance.
  • Doppelgänger: When she has sex with Felix on the beach, Isabelle sees herself watching.
  • Dramatic Irony: Claire, Isabelle's friend, tells her about her first sexual experience. Isabelle gives her some advice and Claire answers: "but you're still a virgin", whereas the audience knows at that point that Isabelle prostitutes herself frequently.
  • Emotionless Girl: Isabelle. Throughout the movie, she displays virtually no emotional attachment or passion towards any of her clients or boyfriends.
  • Femme Fatale: Isabelle tries to play at it with her step-dad with limited success. Véronique thinks Isabelle is this. As Isabelle wryly says, she worries about the wrong person.
  • Foreshadowing: When Isabelle's brother tells her she looks like a whore with her make-up on before she goes out to meet Felix.
  • High-Class Call Girl: Isabelle becomes one. Her clients are wealthy people and she meets them in classy hotels.
  • Ice Queen: Isabelle. Throughout the movie, she displays virtually no emotional attachment or passion towards any of her clients or boyfriends. The movie remains ambiguous regarding her motives.
  • Jailbait Taboo: Isabelle prostitutes herself with old men, whereas she is 17. She pretends to be 20. One of her clients is afraid she could be a minor and asks whether she lied about her age, but she assures him that she is just 18. After the policemen discover that she prostitutes herself, they tell her mother that, as a minor, she is considered as a victim.
  • Naughty by Night: Isabelle is a highschooler by day and secretly prostitutes herself after classes before going back home.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Alice, the wife of a client of Isabelle, says that she would have liked to have men paying for having sex with her, like Isabelle does.
  • Out with a Bang: Georges, which leads to the interrogation of Isabelle by the police and the reveal of her activity to her family.
  • Platonic Prostitution: Isabelle tells the police that she did not have sex with Georges, except during their last meeting.
  • Really 17 Years Old: Isabelle is 17, but she tells Georges she is 18 when he has doubts about her real age.
  • Sex as Rite-of-Passage: The film starts with Isabelle losing her virginity to a German tourist. In universe, Isabelle thinks that virginity is something to get rid off as soon as possible.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title refers to a now defunct French magazine aimed at teenaged girls.
    • Isabelle reads Dangerous Liaisons in the underground after meeting a client.
    • Isabelle and her classmates recite and analyze Roman, a poem by Arthur Rimbaud about teenage love.
    • A very subtle one to Belle de Jour, about a bored housewife that becomes a prostitute.
  • Shower of Angst: After meeting her clients, Isabelle has showers. Her parents notice that she has more showers, but they cannot imagine the reason.
  • Shower of Awkward: Isabelle step-dad enters the bathroom when she is having a shower.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Subverted. The four songs by Françoise Hardy played throughout the movie are light-hearted pop songs that do not seem to fit with a movie about adolescent prostitution. However, if you listen carefully to the lyrics, you realize they fit quite well with Isabelle's situation.
  • Totally 18: Isabelle is only 17, but she pretends to be 20 when she prostitutes herself. One of her clients is afraid she could be a minor and asks whether she lied about her age, but she assures him that she is just 18.
  • Youthful Freckles: Isabelle. They are less visible when she, as Léa, wears heavier make-up to look older.