Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5
Original title: Venus Beaute Institut
France, 1999. Agat Films & Cie, Arte France Cinéma, Tabo Tabo Films, Canal+, Sofinergie 4, Centre National de la Cinématographie. Story by Jacques Audiard, Marion Vernoux, Screenplay and Dialogue by Tonie Marshall. Cinematography by Gerard de Battista. Produced by Gilles Sandoz. Music by Khalil Chahine. Production Design by Michel Vandestien. Costume Design by Nathalie du Roscoat, Claire Gerard-Hirne. Film Editing by Jacques Comets.
The lovely Nathalie Baye plays an employee of a beauty salon who enjoys one-night stands with men but refuses to accept the idea of love, even when a handsome younger man (Samuel Le Bihan) tells her he’s nuts about her. We later find out that she was involved in the accidental maiming of her ex-lover, and her guilt over this keeps her from allowing any new kind of relationships in her life. The film also follows her two co-employees, Mathilde Seigner and Audrey Tautou, as they navigate the world of romance while operating their high class spa. Lovely cinematography, but the story has very little energy and the wonderful acting doesn’t make the characters any more believable. Bulle Ogier is notable as the spa’s owner, Edith Scob has a marvelous scene as a client (she perks up every film she appears in) and Brigitte Roüan is hilarious as a high-paying customer with very few inhibitions.