29 November 2013 2:22 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Only French cinema could get away with Jeune & Jolie. Beneath its stylish, sexy glow lies an essential absurdity and obtuseness

François Ozon's fervent and well-acted drama about a 17-year-old girl exploring her sexuality by becoming a high-class call girl is very watchable … and entirely ridiculous. It has a stylish gloss and sexy glow, no doubt about it. Only French cinema could get away with it.

Yet once the credits roll, its essential absurdity and obtuseness become apparent: it's a solemn belle de jour tale with a touch of David Hamilton softcore, existing outside the grim reality of vulnerable women being abused and trafficked.

Abdellatif Kechiche's Blue Is the Warmest Colour was attacked as a movie for middle-aged men; that charge could be made far more powerfully against Jeune & Jolie.

Yet it has to be said that Marine Vacth is excellent as Isabelle, the schoolgirl with a secret life as a €500 prostitute, »

- Peter Bradshaw

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