Anne (Juliette Binoche), a well-off, Paris-based mother of two and investigative journalist for ELLE, is writing an article about student prostitution. Her meetings with two fiercely independent young women, Alicja (Joanna Kulig) and Charlotte (Anais Demoustier), are profound and unsettling, moving her to question her most intimate convictions about money, family and sex.Written by
OK French "social problem" movie, but perhaps a little exploitative and hypocritical
This movie, like another recent French movie "Student Services", exposes the apparent current social problem of impoverished Parisian female university students resorting to prostitution. In America movies like this are generally preachy and alarmist and usually relegated to the Lifetime network where they're viewed mostly by bored housewives. I'm not exactly sure WHO these French movies are aimed at though, and they seem a little hypocritical. If you REALLY want to de-glamorize co-ed prostitution should you show quite so many scenes of impossibly attractive French actresses like Deborah Francois (in "Student Services") or Anais Demoustier (in this) having hot, naked, kinky sex? Women might appreciate the social message here, but most men will find it a little hard to concentrate on the message what with all the blood flowing from their brains to their boners. Even the middle-age female protagonist of this movie, a journalist played by Juliette Binoche, is so turned on by audiotapes of the Demnoustrier character's sex sessions that at one point she has to go in the bathroom and pleasure herself. She becomes so obsessed with her "expose" that she neglects her husband and children. She's definitely a strange, and not particularly likable, character.
The movie is also surprisingly kinky. Demoustier's prostitute character has wine bottle inserted in her butt by a sadistic client. Another Polish prostitute has her large breasts urinated on. These scenes aren't graphic, of course, but the fact that they're included at all--combined with a rather muddled moral message--definitely tends to move this toward lurid exploitation.
Binoche is not very good in this, but it might be the character she's saddled with. Demoustier is both sexy and adorable, but doesn't have much of a role, and her character pretty much disappears after the assault with the wine bottle. I didn't dislike this movie, but I prefer the similar "Student Services". It too seems a little at odds with itself message-wise, but it gives the major role to its sympathetic prostitute character. And it's not QUITE so exploitative and hypocritical.
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