Saint Laurent (2014) Poster

(2014)

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Poor story telling
Gordon-1121 October 2015
This film tells the story of the lost and hedonistic lifestyle of the young fashion genius Yves Saint Laurent, and his life in the later years.

The film starts off interesting, as it starts the story from Yves already having success in the fashion world. While there's some mention of his work, the emphasis of the plot is on Yves' partying, drugs and alcohol. The very handsome actor playing Saint Laurent helps to keep viewers interested, but unfortunately the interest is not sustained because I find the last hour of the film disjointed, unfocused and frankly aimless. The film cuts from his youth to his older days continuously for no good reason, and scenes are not connected to tell a cohesive story. Subplots are poorly explained and not followed through. For example, we don't know what the outcome is after the long first business meeting with the Americans. Then, the brief coverage of "opium" isn't followed up. What Pierre says to Jacques is an annoying mystery as well. Then the film cuts from the fashion show to various stages of his life in a random manner, that I became completely confused. I was waiting for the film to end, but it just wouldn't end. I was disappointed by this film.
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7/10
Fabulous movie with major problems
JonathanWalford19 October 2015
I want to love this film - the acting is wonderful and the art direction is spectacular - the cinematography, locations, costuming, even the soundtrack. However, the story is disjointed and badly edited.

It is also essential that the viewer knows the characters in YSL's life before seeing this film because there are many oblique references to people that will go over most people's heads and not enough explanation to understand who some of these people were and why they were so influential. There are also a couple of gratuitous nude scenes that cheapen the film because they look like a desperate attempt to win over an audience by exposing the considerable asset of the lead actor. The film also suffers from being a smidgen too long - I was restless in my chair by the end.

Despite this, there are some excellent scenes in this film that are beautifully written, acted, and shot. The opening sequence in the workrooms in 1967 is elegant, the woman buying the pant suit is poignant, the party scenes at the discotheques in the 1960s and 1970s are exciting to watch, and the split screens with the fashions and newsreel films are clever.

I couldn't help but think that a fresh edit might make this a much better film.
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3/10
Yawn
djv-130116 July 2015
This was one of the most boring films I've ever seen, and that's coming from someone who is interested in haute couture and Yves Saint Laurent. Slow paced would be an understatement: it moved at snail's pace and created the impression that Yves led one of the dullest lives in the history of man.

Most reviewers rate this biopic as being superior to the other one released in the same year, titled Yves Saint Laurent (which was endorsed by Pierre Berge with access to the YSL archives). However, while I wasn't enamoured of this latter version (it too was on the boring side), the characters were more fleshed out and believable, and more of the important people in YSL's life were included in that picture than this one.

The three stars I gave this movie were all for Helmut Berger as the ageing Yves Saint Laurent. Having seen footage of YSL in the later stages of his life, Helmut's portrayal was eerily accurate.
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8/10
Don't expect easy view and Saint Laurent's CV
Tuco-237 January 2015
Saw it two times in cinema. It isn't easy film. Gaspard Ulliel is fantastic as Saint Laurent, hypnotic character. You don't need to like him but you can't take your eyes of him. This isn't standard biopic I think lot of people expectd, it's art, little bit surreal and fragmented. It can resemble P.T. Anderson's The Master for example. Music and camera-work is top notch. I can see why it isn't widely praised but it's definitely a movie to see and a bold director's vision. France has balls that they sent this as their Oscar competitor. Didn't see the other version but I'm going to. Doubt that it will be as good as this.
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7/10
Yves Saint Laurent Vs. Saint Laurent
lasttimeisaw1 May 2015
It is rather unusual that two French biographic films about the prêt-à-porter fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent (1936-2008) both came out in the same calendar year, YVES SAINT LAURENT opened in January 2014, directed by actor-turns-director Jalil Lespert, stars a rather unknown Pierre Niney as our protagonist and Guillaume Gallienne (the triple threat of 2014 CÉSAR AWARDS winner ME, MYSELF AND MUM 2013, 7/10) as his business partner and life companion Pierre Bergé. While Bertrand Bonello's more ambitious and high-profile SAINT LAURENT debuted in Cannes last year, with Gaspard Ulliel and Jérémie Renier take the central roles as Yves and Pierre.

They are on a collision course in this year's CÉSAR AWARDS, SL leads with 10 nominations including BEST PICTURE and BEST DIRECTOR, and YSL has 7 nominations all in acting and technique branches, eventually SL ends up with a sole win for BEST COSTUME DESIGN and Niney trounces Ulliel for the much coveted BEST LEADING ACTOR honor (good-looking is also a stumbling block in winning recognitions from your peers, and it is a double-standard between male and female). The latter must have a strong heart to accept defeat to an peer actor who plays the same character in another movie, one sure thing is that he doesn't invest less for the role than Niney, and in my book, Ulliel overshadows Niney in emulating Yves' unique utterance and detailed mannerism, this could really hurt one's confidence and ego in this throat-cutting showbiz.

The time-lines are overlapping, YSL is a less flamboyant and a more narrative-centered piece starts from the beginning of Yves' career, whereas SL mainly focuses on a decade from 1967 to 1976, the acme of his career, although it runs a 150-minutes compared with the former's moderate 106 minutes, with whimsical jumps of his childhood and senile stage (played by Helmut Berger).

Basically YSL is presented as a recollection from Mr. Berge's perspective, so the large chunk of Yves' activities are under the stern observation of Pierre, who is a loyal watchdog of Yves' company and his private life. Niney embodies Yves with a disarming timidity, his disproportionally big nose against his sylphlike physique gives an impression of self- consciousness and he is wanting the confidence with which Saint Laurent should naturalistic-ally equip being a peacocking narcissist. Charlotte Le Bon plays Victoria Doutreleau, Yves' muse in his early career, and their following falling-out is a fascinating scoop which fails to be capitalized on (this part is entirely omitted in SL due to the time frame), so is the much hyped love affair between Yves and Jacques de Bascher (Lafitte), which is being treated like a cliché affair with broad brush. For the worse, Gallienne is another case of miscast, his superlative comedic bent has no room to exhibit, yet the film spends too much time on him - a more rigid and less interesting character loitering as an omnipresent voyeur spying on Yves, to an effect of slight annoyance, he doesn't possess an eye-grabbing charm to be a supporting scene-stealer, this is a compromise when you let the still-alive Pierre Bergé champion your film, he wants more spotlight and in reality, rarely one can do that from Yves Saint Laurent.

Thus to say SL has more liberty in his character building, Yves is the one-and-the-only protagonist, everyone around him are bells-and-whistles, Renier's Bergé is barely given any chewy scenes to perform and as stylish as Seydoux's Loulou de la Falaise and Valade's Betty Catroux (whose only chance to stun the audience is in her introduction oner, the killing charm of a supermodel), Bonello scarcely offers them lines to utter, they are perfect ornaments around Yves, and reflects his aesthetics and discernment. More as a recount of Yves' emotional flow than an orthodox chronicle, Bonello dares to throw the narrative into disarray with symbolic projections (buddha, snakes and mirrors) and overlong takes to set the atmosphere arousing, risks losing the correlations among characters in order to concoct a sumptuous feast of haute couture in its most paradigm-shifting moments (frankly speaking YSL is too shabby and drab by comparison) and a dysfunctional psyche of a trend-setter who owns-it-all and still cannot find satisfaction inside albeit all the extravagance he is endowed and channels. It is a flawed film no doubt, the last half-hour is too erratic to concentrate, but one should appreciate the intention at the first place, plus Gaspard Ulliel brings about his boldest performance ever, not to mention the nudity out of the closet bravura, if only the story would be edited and collaged in a more sequential manner, he excellent radiates with vulnerability, condescendence, bewilderment, allurement and pride which all can be conducted to a person at the position where Yves Saint Laurent is.

Louis Garrel's Jacques is permitted with more exploration into his perverse sexual activity and Garrel maximally magnifies his enigmatic attraction with nonchalant superciliousness, explains well why he can be the inamorato of both Yves and Karl Lagerfeld, a spoiled product of that period. Also in SL, Bonello's classic music background has been put into good use to also gratify viewer's pretentious ears. Anyhow, the two films have their own merits and shortcomings, for an artistic cinephile, the appeal of SAINT LAURENT is a too big enticement, and if you prefer a healing love story between two men, which actually happened in real life, YVES SAINT LAURENT may be more promising for that!
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2/10
Lavishly monotonous
cekadah8 February 2016
If you want to drown in a sea of poseurs and take two and one half hours to do it, then this flick is just your perfect rusty old skiff.

Honestly two and one half hours of poseurs, poseurs, poseurs, poseurs. Poseurs smoking, smoking, smoking! Poseurs drinking, drinking, drinking. Poseurs on drugs, dope, drugs, dope, etc. Poseurs in elegant surroundings, fancy over decorated rooms. Poseurs in clothes that look like they were heisted from a mob bosses closet.

Poseurs whispering, whispering, whispering! There is dialog in this flick but the entire cast seemed reluctant to actually speak it in a normal vocal tone. More poseurs, male, female. Party poseurs! Parties in very artsy settings. More lavish rooms for this cast of poseurs to be photographed in. And somewhere squeezed into this sea of monotonous poseurs is a story, an actual plot line. But you will drown long before you become aware of it!
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8/10
The better of the two YSL bio-pics
paul-allaer13 June 2015
"Saint Laurent" (2014 release; 150 min.) is another bio-pic on the fashion designer. As the movie opens, it is "1974", where we see Yves checking into a hotel in Paris under the name "Swann". We see him making a call to presumably a reporter, informing him that he's ready for the interview. The movie then jumps to "1967", and the fashion house is in full swing to get its latest collection of "haute couture" ready We get to appreciate how Yves goes about as he is working, always with classical music on. At this time we are barely 10 min. into the movie, but to tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: first, you may remember that last year produced not one, but two YSL bio-pics out of France: there was "Yves Saint Laurent", and then there was this. The former is well-intended but wafer-thin, lacking any depth. No such problem with this movie, which takes you into the world of YSL, both the person and the business, and then some. Writer-director Bertrand Bonello has the audacity (and I mean it in the best possible way) of letting scenes develop slowly but with purpose. Check the scene early in the movie (in 1968) where YSL is at a night club. CCR's I Put A Spell On You comes blasting on, and eventually a gorgeous blonde steps onto the dance floor and dances to the music. YSL watches, and watches, and watches, and eventually decides to approach her: "You need to come work for me, I will design a collection for you". By then we are almost at the end of CCR's song, which played for minutes on. It is one of the best scenes of the movie, but it certainly is not the only time that Bonello uses this technique. The last 45 min. are also the best, as only then we get a glimpse of YSL's youth, and the movie also flashes forth towards his last days, all the while as we continue to see him in 1977. Fascinating. At some point, while trying to come up with yet another new collection, YSL sighs "I created a monster and now I have to live with it", wow. Gaspard Ulliel, an unknown to me, is brilliant in the role of YSL. Please note: there are several scenes with full male frontal nudity. Last but not least, director Bonello also composed the occasional score for the movie, but he also collected a ton of great songs for the movie from that era (CCR, Velvet Underground, the Four Seasons, as well as several classical music pieces from Maria Callas, just to name those). "Saint Laurent" had 10 nominations for the French equivalent of the Oscars, and it's easy to see why. This is an ambitious and mostly successful bio-pic.

I saw the other YSL bio-pic about a year ago and was eagerly awaiting this one. Not sure why it has taken this long, but "Saint Laurent" finally opened this weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati, and I went to see it right away. The matinée screening where I saw this at was attended better than expected (I wouldn't have been shocked had there only been a couple of people). Bottom line: even it is a bit overlong, "Saint Laurent" is easily the better of the two YSL bio-pics from last year, so I'd readily recommend you check this out, be it in the theater, or eventually on VOD or DVD/Blu-ray. "Saint Laurent" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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2/10
Wow! What BOMB.
sjrenter27 September 2015
Looked forward to this version of the YSL saga. Was disappointed in the first, Yves Saint Laurent, so had high hopes for this one which was favorably reviewed. One wonders what film the NYT reviewer had watched? This mess is not properly a film, at best it is an indulgent impressionist biography. There is no narrative, no story-line, no characters (let alone character development). I doubt that without some knowledge of YSL's life one could follow the film. I even doubt that one would be interested in doing so. The actors are first class but given their abilities they are as wasted as was my time being bored for the 150 minutes of creeping, not running, time of Saint Laurent.
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4/10
Saint Boring.......
angelsunchained28 May 2016
I thought this would be an interesting and exciting movie, was I wrong. The film maker makes the wild 1960s, the dull and boring 1960s. Frontal male nudity and gay sex is about as shocking as watching as a turtle slowly walking around the floor. There is no life to this film. No feelings. It is all show with long and dull scenes which are meant to be "earth shattering", but are just boring. A beautiful model is shown dancing by herself twice in a club in a nothing scene which goes on and on. A group of investors are shown talking in a room for an extremely dull ten minute scene with lousy acting, again void of any emotion. I give it a 4 out of 10 only for the beautiful women and lovely fashion. The acting and the screenplay rate a minus 100.
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9/10
Glad to have seen SL after YSL
brnk41 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
If you're new to the whole idea of Yves Saint Laurent, you'd probably like to watch the other movie, YSL by Jalil Lespert. It presents Yves' life in a fairly linear fashion, with reason and logic (and history, nonetheless) determining the scenes following one another, brightened by a wide range of characters of all types and colors. However, while watching it, I felt as if I would have been sitting at a boring History class with a boring old school teacher who was bored himself with what he was teaching. I'd name this History teacher Pierre Berge, Yves' long term companion and lover, as despite the film bearing the name Yves Saint Laurent, after Pierre is introduced 13 minutes into the movie, the whole perspective from which everything that happens is presented shifts, not sure if willingly or not. Either way, if I'm interested in Pierre's perspective, I should be watching a movie called Pierre Berge, right?

Bertrand Bonello's version, SL, on the other hand, is everything YSL is not. It works not only as satisfying our (presupposed) need to know more about YSL's life, but it does it with style, while still being able to entertain, in a way a conscious filmmaker would do, who has a certain public in mind, to trigger their points of interest. We're talking about non-linear storytelling wrapped in a clever structure which stands far from messing us up with its seemingly disorganized, jumpy time line, but it adds color, life, and impression to the same skeleton that YSL just wasn't able to. YSL is more of a documentary consisting of reconstructed scenes, whereas with SL you have scenes that work within themselves, not only in the context of the whole movie. Here I felt the focus having been really put on his passion, the way he worked, his environment, his temper when he worked, his temper when he was off-work (still looking for models), the esteem and respect that was given to him by everyone who worked for him. The time period of 1968-1970 is presented in a highly ironic way, in the form of a split-screen, where on one side we see political events of the real world while on the other side we see models presenting the spring and autumn collections of a totally different high-end world, as suggested by the split screen, yet both of them occurring in the same year, in the same location. A home-party scene is reminiscent of Chabrol's scene of the same nature in Les Cousins (1959). We see impressionistic, abstract scenes and shots which instead of halting our flow, along with the excellently chosen, and used music engulfs us further in. On the other hand there's the business meeting scene with an American shareholder, in which the prolonged overlapping dialog of Pierre, the translator and the American suck us back into the realistic aspect of this seemingly dreamy world filled with art, beautiful women, and bohemian lifestyle. About one hour and a half into the movie the fourth wall is obliterated with a cute little reflexive scene which looks like a one-shot commercial. I could go on and on.

Bonello's SL goes after your feelings, consciously and successfully using the language of cinema, with all its tricks up its sleeve, magically unraveling the magic of Yves.
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