This may sound strange, but I’ve seen too many films recently which are about a young female student who captures the attention of both one of her peers and one of her professors. The Beautiful Person, at the very least, seems to be one of the better films to have this tiresome storyline that has popped up with a fury after An Education.
La Belle Personne, or The Beautiful Person, plays like a French teen melodrama. Filmmaker Christopher Honoré (Love Songs, Dans Paris, Ma Mére) tackles teen romances with a deadly seriousness. With the arrival of new 16-year-old student, Junie (Léa Seydoux), all sorts of new drama unfolds. Forget the secret gay relationship, because Junie is able to garner affection from both her Italian teacher (Louis Garrel) and fellow student (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet).
This modern adaptation of Madame de la Fayette’s classic novel, The Princess of Cléves, provides little action and a lot of small human interactions. The subtlety of the film is a strength, however, keeping this from being a redundant French recreation of a “Gossip Girl” episode.