Venus Beauty Institute
Wellspring // R // $24.99 // July 26, 2001
Review by Blake Kunisch | posted September 6, 2001
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Movie: This French romantic comedy stars Nathalie Baye as a beautician (Angèle) who seems to be unsure as to what she wants out of life. She's content to work at the salon, but is quite uncertain about what to do with her love life. Angèle believes that love is slavery nad instead she opts for the occasional interlude with the opposite sex, but doesn't enjoy the other parts of the relationship that follows. As she argues with a lover in the streets, another man (Samuelle Bihan) somehow, inexplicably falls in love with her and pursues her throughout the rest of the movie.

The film is entertaining, but nothing special as the full load of the movie is placed squarely on Nathalie's back. Single-handedly, she carries the movie from start to finish. While her scenes inside the salon are done well, her interactions outside of the salon, in various restaurants and street-corners, as she tries to pick up a stranger is what really moves the film along. As the film tries to have underlying tenets of love and betrayal, it mostly comes off as a film about the sex life of Angèle. It's an interesting look into the life of this one older woman and the film is engaging enough to keep you from wandering off to do something else, but it lacks a fundamental warmth necessary for a film of this type.

Picture: This film relies on a lot of bright, pastel colors, all of which display perfectly on the screen. There were no noticeable defects in terms of grain or flecks on the transfer which makes for a pleasant viewing experience. The colors were bright and crisp and equally dark when called for.

Audio: Presented in stereo, there's not much to be said about the audio. The dialogue is clear and understandable, but there's nothing special about the audio elements in this film. Note that this is presented only in French with English subtitles. No dub is available.

Extrs: There are no extras on this film that really stand out. There's the usual trailer, filmographies and scene access. The menus are clear and easily navigated, but there's really nothing special to be found within the menus.

Conclusion: The film features a terrific performance by Nathalie Baye, whom I first saw in the somewhat similar, An Affair of Love. She has a great screen presence and it's unfortunate that the script wasn't able to bring out of her what we saw in An Affair of Love. It's not her fault that the film seems to flounder at times, but rather a combination of a so-so script with a so-so director. An interesting film with no extras, the only reason to own this DVD is if you either love Nathalie Baye or French films.



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