Director: Emmanuelle Bercot
Starring: Déborah François, Mathieu Demy, Alain Cauchi, Benjamin Siksou, Anna Sigalevitch
Duration: 108 min.
Laura, 19, a first-year university student, desperately wants to do well in school. Despite a part-time job, she is unable to make ends meet and becomes so short of funds that one desperate evening, having run out of options, she goes so far as to answer an ad on the Internet. 'Joe, 57, seeks female student for tender moments. One hundred euros an hour.' Just this once, she promises herself. Three days later, Laura is in a hotel room with Joe. And the spiral begins.
Student Services is a film directed by Emmanuelle Bercot, based on an anonymously written autobiographical French novel. It is currently available to watch through Netflix' instant streaming service.
It tells the story of Laura, a broke 19 year old university student who resorts to prostitution to make ends meet, played by the lovely and talented Déborah François, who I've been a fan of since her debut in the Dardenne brothers' 2005 Palme d'Or winning film L'enfant; and she puts on a brave and convincing performance here, as a naive character who seems to make one bad decision after another, and ends up in some disturbing and very explicit situations that are quite difficult to watch.
Unfortunately the screenplay lacks proper character development, never really convincing us why this is her only choice, and it's also frustrating to see Laura repeat the same mistakes again and again. Also the supporting cast are all cardboard cutouts, everyone she encounters are either creepy old men, or deadbeat boyfriends.
Along with François' performance, it does have a pretty good soundtrack with standout tracks by The Walkmen, Blonde Redhead, and Soap&Skin,that keep this from being a total write-off.
— Bonjour Tristesse