March 20, 2014 5:23 pm

Yves Saint Laurent – film review

Pierre Niney plays the designer in a life story with glitter and fame but no drama
Yves Saint Laurent film still

Pierre Niney and Charlotte Lebon

Yves Saint Laurent: not, you would think, the likely hero of a “powerful, epic love story” (in the words of director Jalil Lespert). But everything is unlikely in Yves Saint Laurent. First the project and its realisation, a life story with glitter, fame and achievement but no drama. Then the scenes of trumped-up sound and fury, as Yves (Pierre Niney) struggles with drink, drugs and tortured gay passion.

Niney, helped to a spitting likeness by willowy leanness and a bony face lending itself to goggle-lensed specs, emotes resourcefully. The actor’s name is accompanied by the credit “de la Comédie-Française”, as if someone hopes this story is in a direct line from Molière and Racine. Sadly it is not even in a direct line from Coco before Chanel. That had nuns, orphanages, tragic bereavement and a threads-to-finery backstory. This just has celebrity wattage, with some unconvincing bids to suggest there were crisis moments of potential career blackout.

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Nigel Andrews


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