27 January 2013 | lazarillo
Not entirely successful mixture of expose and exploitation, but worth seeing for Deborah Francois
This French movie is based on a supposedly autobiographical story about a young and incredibly naive university student (Deborah Francois) who has to resort to prostitution to pay for her studies. This movie certainly doesn't glamorize prostitution from the female perspective as the girl's johns are presented as decidedly unattractive, pathetic, and borderline dangerous. It kind of DOES, however, tend to glamorize prostitution from the male perspective as Deborah Francois ("The Page Turner", "Female Agents") is very attractive and spends half the movie in various stages of undress. Moreover, she is (often pretty unbelievably) sweet and naive and probably nowhere near as cynical and hard-bitten as the kind of person who would be working as a prostitute in real-life. I'm sure most of the potential male audience of this movie can't honestly say they are watching this purely out of social concern that gorgeous but financially strapped French co-eds might be turning to prostitution (at least I know I can't).
There's always a danger in a film that, on one hand, is this sexually explicit, but is also, on the other hand, trying to generally condemn the sex trade. They've actually made a few films like this in America recently. "About Cherry" (with another unbelievably gorgeous model/actress, Ashley Hinshaw) runs into the same problems as this one. But both are vastly preferable to "On the Doll" where the decidedly PG-13 content manages to add to an already ridiculous and laughably unbelievable "expose" content. Only the obscure recent American indie film "Smile Pretty" successfully manages to be bold enough to tackle this kind of touchy subject without being so explicit as to slip into exploitation itself.
I certainly DON'T want to take anything away from Francoise, however, who is quite good in this (and it's certainly not HER fault she's far more naturally beautiful than any real prostitute probably would be). I don't know is she speaks English well, but if so she certain has the talent to compete with most young Hollywood actresses (who would never be brave enough to tackle a sordid role like this). She could be the next Marion Cotillard (who tackled a number of French films like this before becoming a rising star in Hollywood), or at least the next Ludivine Sagnier (a big star in France who has occasionally been successful outside it). She is definitely one to watch.