Similar to Ozon's earlier, more alluring study of sensual awakening in Swimming Pool (2003) - albeit with a more explicit emphasis on innocence lost - Jeune & Jolie works best when attempting to register Isabelle's internal discontent and contrasting it with the conventions and expectations of her age. Underpinning her double life is a disinterest with the various immaturities of adolescence, captured in a scene at a party where Isabelle drifts from room to room, strolling indifferently past drunken revellers. It's only when, in the later stages of the film when she strikes up a relationship with someone her age, that she's reminded of the intoxicating validation of prostitution, however disregarding she is of the monetary gain. "Once a whore, always a whore", a john reminds her.
Though sharing similarities to Blue Is the Warmest Colour (2013), which it competed with for the Palme d'Or at last year's Cannes Film Festival, Ozon's latest conveys none of Abdellatif Kechiche's nuance, instead heavy-handedly overlaying its themes and central, intimate theses by using a selection of Françoise Hardy songs, which distractedly punctuate the film with their overstressed, melancholy lyrics. At a trim 90 minutes, Jeune & Jolie breezes by but fails to explore certain aspects of its protagonist's psyche, in particular the effects of an absent father and Sylvie's potential infidelity, though Ozon's cinematic confidence makes it on the whole watchable but largely unmemorable.
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