Mes chères études (Student Services) Reviews
The actress they chose to play Laura was perfect too. Looking forward to reading the book next, sad to think it's a true story and a bright young girl would have to stoop to prostitution to complete her studies.
Hated the Joe character. What a beep.
The story of Laura is a story of one of the students who works in a call center, but even with an extra job she cannot meet her monthly payments. One day she faints in public during a lecture because she hasn't eaten enough, and instead of help by the student counselor, she is given the advice to sue her parents. She knows that her working class parents can't afford to pay more money. Her electricity is cut off and when it comes back she explores on internet a dubious website where matured men advertise in order to get to know women. She contacts a man called Joe who wants to pay her for keeping him company...
One of the things to remember after watching this film is the acting! Déborah François as Laura, Alain Cauchi as Joe and Mathieu Demy as Benjamin did everything for us to believe that these are real lives which suffer in those situations which seemed like a solution for their problems! It is sad that we had no chance to know the characters better due to the lack of their development in the screenplay .
If you like good acting and lots of sex scenes which exploit the perfect body of the actress Déborah François, and you don't mind the weaknesses in the screenplay, give it a go. Very watchable.
Set in contemporary France (not in Paris) - Laura (Déborah) is a 19-year old fresh college student of Spanish classes and wants to become a 'translator' to roam the world. Her parents live in remote town - Laura's mother works as a nurse, and her father as a mason, and a little brother.
In the opening of the film, she faints in the class full of students - it is revealed that she's been on starvation for some days due to her financial condition - the electricity is cut-off of the room (that she shares with her timely boyfriend - who doesn't seem to care much about her except to live on her expenses). Desperate in need of the money to fund her studies and accommodation; she picks up the laptop of her boyfriend to find petty jobs - which leads her to an advertisement by a middle-aged (married) man who wants to just spend quality time with her (including massage, and hanky-panky).
She seems to enjoy the time she spent (about an hour) without engaging in either foreplay or sexual activity (other than getting naked - exposing her big breasts fondled by the old man - who reiterates his desire only in the letter he gives to her rather than explaining verbally). With the money she (just) earned - she throws a treat to her friends, rejoicing every moment of it. She answers another ad, by naïve and somewhat fatty guy, who according to Laura (as she puts it later, although she does not seem to show the signs of it) calls it 'being raped' in the car, before giving him a blowjob - her claim does not have any effect on her boyfriend, whom she later asks to get out.
Next she sends an email to the first client (whom she considers to be gentle not to be having sex with her) - she asks him in an e-mail that she wants to have her very own 'laptop'. When she shows up at the hotel, the laptop is open with BDSM-movie playing on it - this sort of makes her uncomfortable. Then, she is asked to lay idle, while mouth gagged, hand and feet tied - this middle-aged man draws out long dildo and inserts it inside her vagina, against her yelling and cries. She storms out of the room, having freed herself of the fragile knots.
Laura bumps into a handsome young man at bar, who seems to love her from bottom of his heart and shares her secrets (but also feels jealous on the inside - especially with her frequent visit to the middle-aged man even after the incident).
The film is said to be based on true story - it is said that most of the young badly-off female students in France find this easy-but-lucrative job to fund their studies, buy fine clothes and meals. Deborah gives good performance, she is oomph, charming and seductive - I am very attentive when it comes to figuring the 'teen' looks, according to this experience of mine, I can assure you that you should not be disappointed in suffering from the natural tendency that grips you.
Basically to argue on what Laura goes in the film, is right or wrong; is out of debate. The age factor is well-chosen. It is the stage of an age when you can bend your life you want to, and there is little family-dominance on your independence. If I would compare the East and West, then it is to be called 'Clash of Civilization' - what Laura does in this film, may not bind her from not attempting.
And still I wonder that if having bulky men over top of her teen body, was worth all of this? I mean the scene where she goes with this middle-aged man inside 'Lady's Club' and then raped by two wrinkly old men - does not make sense (just for 1,000 euro). But then again as I said earlier - you can't estimate the dreams of those who go through extremes of being broke.
On aurait pû avoir mieux pour la mise en scène, mais les choses qui nous sont envoyées en pleine gueule, durement, nous plongent bien dans le monde/ la vie de Laura.
Based upon Mes chères études (My expensive studies in English) is a 2008, an autobiographical book by an anonymous author known as "Laura D.", who is a modern language student at a Paris university. The book has drawn national attention in France with its controversial contents, in which the author claimed that she had to go into prostitution to financially support her studies. (Wiki)
French movies are sexually expletive and they don't hesitate in holding back. This goes for this one as well. It's at times very disturbing a young girl doing things with old man, getting raped, message or just lying naked. Anyways Déborah François did a great job because it didn't occur to me for a second that she is just an actress.
The thing about the movie I didn't like that it's slow and spend too much time in the bedroom at times.
Déborah François is quite believable, though the supporting characters are somewhat stereotypical. I don't know how pervasive this is in the US (and other countries), but this movie is still a valid cautionary tale.