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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Superficial, lackluster

4/10
Author: ville-5 from Finland
4 August 2007

Despite the SHAMELESS viral marketing here in IMDb I didn't find this documentary particularly interesting. The 'French Beauty' as a concept brings images of Bardot et al. to my mind, and France has had a long line of actresses who are easy on the eyes and some of them have even had the ability to act on the silver screen.

"French Beauty" aims to portray the beautiful French actresses yet it doesn't even mention Emmanuelle Seigner, Anouk Aimee, Julie Delpy, Virginie Ledoyen or the ageless Isabelle Adjani??? Only a few are actually interviewed but it is always interesting to see famous actors/actresses as themselves and whether they turn out to be anything you have come to expect from their performances in films. Tautou and Deneuve give some insightful comments into the subject at hand and the interviewees come up as genuine persons.

Fanny Ardant (for example) is in her fifties yet I thought she looked at most 30 and smashing when she appeared in Callas Forever. Unfortunately she's one of the many people NOT interviewed and she is featured extremely briefly.

What I really disliked in the documentary was how it pushed some no-name forgettable girl-woman in her early 20's as "the next beauty in French cinema." The docu makers really tried to sound authoritative when they declared that but it is a hollow and bogus statement. A sub-plot in this documentary follows a somewhat pouty self-indulgent girl who seeks her break in the movies. It doesn't come in the film and so far (August 2007) it hasn't come unless you count French B-movies as a break in the same league as all the other ladies featured in this doc. The whole segment, edited into short clips between all other beauties, made me actually think whether the whole documentary was made to just support her ailing career.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Appropriately fleeting

5/10
Author: nanlee from Silicon Valley, CA
21 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I enjoyed but didn't love French Beauty. There's no question that the featured women are lovely. I appreciated how many of them were open about their looks affecting their careers. It was also a treat seeing early footage of Deneuve, Moreau, and a few other classic actors.

It's just that, for me anyway, beauty is even harder to define than a great song. It seemed like the commentators shared that sentiment to some degree, so much of what was said had that tentative, vague tone to it. It would've been outrageous but livelier (and hilarious) if there was at least one raving egomaniac in the bunch. The closest to it was Sophie Marceau sharing that she used to practice facial expressions in the mirror, knowing what effects they'd have. But even she was pretty cool.

What irked me a lot more than the ambiguous subject was the extra focus on Sara Forestier. For whatever reason - maybe her relative youth? - she wasn't nearly as interesting as the other actors, but got quite a bit of screen time. If I didn't need the subtitles, I would've folded laundry during her scenes.

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