Isabelle (played by Marine Vacth) is holidaying with her family in the south of France. They happily celebrate her seventeenth birthday in the summer sun and along the beach. One day, a holiday romance becomes her first sexual experience and in a less than romantic encounter she loses her virginity. When she and her family travel back to Paris, she’s curious to know more about sex so she secretly becomes a call girl. She meets several regular clients when her mother, Sylvie (by Géraldine Pailhas) thinks she’s either at school or studying with her friends. During one hotel liaison, Isabelle’s client Georges (by Johan Leysen) suddenly dies and she flees. When the police track her down and question her – she is unapologetic, but doesn’t behave like a victim either. Her mother is horrified and her brother, Victor (by Fantin Ravat) is totally amazed – he wants to know more too. Her life continues on and she tries to balance her adult experiences with her still maturing emotions.
This film is okay – of course the south of France and Paris are both lovely, but the story is strangely remote. I didn’t find Isabella particularly interesting at all, nor any of her family. The saviour for me is the cameo by Charlotte Rampling, but you need to wait quite a while for that. As a drama, it’s interesting in that you’d like to understand what makes this girl tick and what motivates her – she wants to have adult sexual interactions, but wants a teenage love affair with someone her own age too … difficult adolescent times, I suppose. I would be interested to see both Marine Vacth and Fantin Ravat in other things as I don’t think this is enough to judge. The director, François Ozon, has also made “8 Women” and “Swimming Pool”, which I found far better than this one.
Made in 2013. Directed by François Ozon.