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School of Flesh ,The
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by Chris Parry

"The Isabelle Huppert show."
4 stars

A middle aged female executive goes to a club with her friend and they spot a good-looking bartender. Suddenly obsessed with the good-looking dude, our heroine (Isabelle Huppert) takes him home and offers to let him stay with her. Which you’d kind of understand if he was the sort of guy you’d piss on if he were on fire.

But he’s not. This kid is such a pain in the ass that I wanted to slap him down from beginning to end. He treats Huppert like crap, splits his time between a video game arcade and walking the streets as a male prositute, and generally snarls at anything and everything that could be considered good. Why a woman who is attractive, smart, reasonably wealthy and mentally together would suddenly opt to hang out with this piece of excrement is utterly beyond me, but that’s the question that School Of Flesh wants us, as the audience, to consider.

So fine then, I considered and came to the conclusion that this is one tough movie to get through, if only because so much of what happens occurs over and over again. Huppert investigates where this guy came from, what he does when she’s not around, then investigates more, then he comes home and treats her like crap, she cries, they screw, he leaves, repeat.

In the lead role, Isabelle Huppert excels as always. That’s a good thing, since the camera seems to zoom right in on her face at least once a minute, examining every speck of age she’s accrued over the years in the most unflattering fashion. Sans make-up and generally looking worn, Huppert gives her all regardless, right down to several revealing love making scenes.

But it’s the alluring Roxanne Mesquida that will steal the hearts of thousands, as the young miss that eventually lures asshole-boy away. A more beautiful face you’ll seldom find gracing any screen.

Like Requiem for a Dream or the Basketball Diaries, School Of Flesh is one of those films that, when you watch it, you’ll acknowledge that it’s a well made, well performed affair with a worthwhile message, but when you think back on it the desire to watch it again will be practically non-existent. It’s an ordeal – a worthy ordeal to be sure, but an ordeal nonetheless.

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originally posted: 11/19/02 15:32:55
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User Comments

12/24/07 mr.mike strangely watchable , though by the end I felt like I spent a lifetime with them 3 stars
11/19/02 Buddha Agreed, Huppert is fabulous. the rest of the film... not so much. 3 stars
3/04/99 Mr Showbiz The only thing that shines about this film is the luminous Isabelle Huppert. 3 stars
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  26-Feb-1999 (R)


  02-Feb-1999 (MA)

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