Young & Beautiful

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Young & Beautiful
Jeune et Jolie Young and Beautiful poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by François Ozon
Produced by Eric Altmayer
Nicolas Altmayer
Written by François Ozon
Music by Philippe Rombi
Cinematography Pascal Marti
Edited by Laure Gardette
Distributed by Wild Bunch Films
StudioCanal Arthaus
Lionsgate Films
Release dates
  • 16 May 2013 (2013-05-16) (Cannes)
  • 21 August 2013 (2013-08-21) (France)
Running time
93 minutes
Country France
Language French

Young & Beautiful (French: Jeune & Jolie) is a 2013 French four-season drama film of adolescent sexuality directed by François Ozon and produced by Eric and Nicolas Altmayer. The film stars Marine Vacth as a wantonly photogenic unfettered girl in the leading role of Isabelle, a teenage prostitute, and features supporting performances by Charlotte Rampling, Johan Leysen, Géraldine Pailhas, and Frédéric Pierrot. The film was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, and received praise from the film critics.[1][2]

It was shown at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.[3]


Isabelle is on summer holiday with her family in the south of France. The film opens with a scene of voyeurism when Victor uses binoculars from a cliff to watch his sister Isabelle sunning topless on a sun drenched French beach. She then decides to have sex for the first time with a German boy named Felix, but the experience leaves her cold.

By autumn she is exploring her sexuality further by working as a prostitute at high-class hotels under the name Lea. Isabelle sets up a website and uses a dedicated phone to arrange encounters with clients. Among Isabelle's clients is a 63-year-old man named Georges (Johan Leysen). During her final tryst with Georges, Isabelle is satisfying him in the cowgirl position when he dies of a heart attack. Isabelle vainly tries to save him by administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and CPR, and then she trips, injuring her forehead. She then leaves the room and quits prostitution. When police detectives investigate her client's death, they track down Isabelle and reveal her secret life to her mother, Sylvie, by informing her that her daughter is leading a double life as Lea and Isabelle. After learning that her daughter is a prostitute, Sylvie flies into a rage and repeatedly slaps Isabelle as she lies on a sofa. Sylvia then drags Isabelle to see a doctor (Serge Hefez).

After Isabelle quits prostitution she returns to living a normal teenage life. She goes to a party where she talks to a boy named Alex, who she eventually starts dating. Once they start having sex, she is once again left cold in which she ends their relationship. Her sex drive leads her back into prostitution. Georges' widow Alice (Charlotte Rampling) gets Isabelle's phone number from her deceased husband's address book, and learns that Isabelle was with him when he died. She poses as a client and arranges to meet with Isabelle in the lounge of the hotel. When they meet up, Alice tells Isabelle that she is Georges' widow. She has a very pleasant demeanor as they talk about him and return to Room 6095, where he and Isabelle had their encounters. Alice says that dying while making love is a beautiful death and asks Isabelle to lay down beside her on the bed, and begins to caress Isabelle's face. The film ends with Isabelle waking up to find that Alice has left.



François Ozon (second from left) with Fantin Ravat, Marine Vacth, and Géraldine Pailhas at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Frédéric Pierrot can be seen behind Ravat.

Upon its premiere at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, Young & Beautiful received critical acclaim. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter praised Vacth's leading role and predicted that the film would "land her major exposure on the casting radar". While drawing comparisons to Ozon's 2012 film In the House Rooney wrote, "[U]nlike that playful Hitchcockian quasi-thriller, Young & Beautiful is both more carnal and more sober, suggesting the danger and fragility inherent in the central character’s experimentation while keeping the dramatic intensity subdued."[4] Leslie Felperin of Variety noted that the film was "a nuanced, emotionally temperate study of a precocious youth" and added that "its elegant execution will win warm regard [and the] subject matter should lure audiences at art houses worldwide."[5]

Derek Malcolm of London Evening Standard wrote that Ozon was successful in "directing the slim and striking Vacth through a series of sex scenes, and also showing how the girl doesn’t really know what she is doing even when pretty experienced in the art of seduction."[6] While being appreciative of the film as a whole, Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian noted that the film was a "luxurious fantasy of a young girl's flowering: a very French and very male fantasy, like the pilot episode of the world's classiest soap opera."[7]

Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 77% based on reviews from 35 critics.[8]


Award / Film Festival Category Recipients and nominees Result
Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or François Ozon Nominated
San Sebastián International Film Festival[9] TVE Otra Mirada Award François Ozon Won


The film tells the story of takes place over the course of a year and is divided into four segments, each separated by a song by Françoise Hardy.


  1. ^ "2013 Official Selection". Cannes Film Festival. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "Screenings Guide" (PDF). Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "Toronto film festival 2013: the full line-up". The Guardian (London). 23 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-24. 
  4. ^ Rooney, David (16 May 2013). "Young & Beautiful: Cannes Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  5. ^ Felperin, Leslie (16 May 2013). "'Young & Beautiful' Review". Variety. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  6. ^ Malcolm, Derek (16 May 2013). "Young & Beautiful, Cannes film festival - film review". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  7. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (16 May 2013). "Cannes 2013: Jeune et Jolie review". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Jeune et jolie". San Sebastián. 15 December 2013. Retrieved 15 December 2013. 

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