Movie review: Biography 'Yves Saint Laurent' a fashionable fizzle

Published August 8, 2014 3:30 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The biographical drama "Yves Saint Laurent" captures the lush look of the French designer, but director Jalil Lespert's depiction of his career falls into the clichés of meteoric success followed by self-destructive excess.

We meet Yves Mathieu-Saint-Laurent (played by Pierre Niney) in 1957, as a fledgling designer leaving his family in French-colonized Algeria for Paris, where he becomes an assistant and then successor to the legendary Christian Dior (Patrice Thibaud). Yves also forms a lifelong bond, in business if not in love, with businessman Pierre Bergé (Guillaume Gallienne).

The relationship was rocky, with Pierre helping Yves through bouts of manic-depression, creative doldrums and a slide into drug abuse. The movie doesn't paint Pierre as perfect, as the pair fought often — most ferociously over Yves' friend and muse, the model Victoire Doutreleau (Charlotte Le Bon).

The movie, one of two competing biopics (the other, "Saint Laurent," premiered at Cannes and will be released in France in September), focuses less on the designer's groundbreaking fashions and more on the sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll. The result is a drama that's all on the surface, lots of flash but little fire.

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'Yves Saint Laurent'

Opens Friday, Aug. 8, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for sexual content and drug use; in French with subtitles; 107 minutes.



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