When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has. —IMDB
I’ll say, right up front, this is not going to be a movie for everyone. It’s slow and very “arty”. I found it riveting. It’s a powerful critique of the fashion industry and the way that women sell their souls for fleeting success. Elle Fanning is excellent as Jesse, the beautiful, innocent novice model who is a threat to those who rely on their artificial beauty. The movie is quite bizarre in places with some scenes shocking and gross — and others sensually seductive. The cinematography is visually stunning and the soundtrack is pulsating, vibrant, and disturbing. The objectivisation of women and the discarding of those who don’t measure up, or the lengths that some go to construct artificial beauty in the meat market of fashion, is compellingly portrayed. It was hard, sometimes, to keep looking at the screen. It is possible that Nicolas Winding Refn (the writer and director) has gone too far in some places and, maybe, even, inadvertently sensationalised and glorified what, I assume, he set out to critique. But, overall, a telling criticism of a world that looks good on the surface but is corrupt and soul-destroying underneath.