In Venus Beauty
the carefully unattached existence of working girl Nathalie Baye is suddenly upended when a lovesick hunk Samuel Le Bihan introduces himself: "My name is Antoine and I love you". Set in a cute glass storefront with a neon pink and blue façade that could have sprung from a Jacque Demy musical, this bittersweet romantic drama was written for the arresting Baye, who plays a middle aged "girl" in a uniquely French beauty shop in Paris that specialises in facials, body treatments, massages, and emotional confession. Her co-workers, young, sweetly guileless brunette cutie Audrey Tautou and gloomy twentysomething Mathilde Seigner, are like a glimpse into her past lives, one full of hope and giddy optimism, the other turned resentful from disappointment. She clings to the girly camaraderie and workaday auto-pilot of her job while her "patronne" (the incomparable Bulle Ogier) nudges her toward responsibility.
Writer/director Tonie Marshall has a marvellous feeling for the women who work and visit the place, though her soulful bohemian artist Le Bahine is defined by little more than good looks, shaggy charm, and a kind of reckless attraction. The film is at its best with the women: the easy by-play and guarded emotions of the shopgirls, the often uncontrolled outbursts of the offbeat and oddball clients, and especially the haunted and lonely Baye, who warily creeps out of her shell for another chance at intimacy. --Sean Axmaker, Amazon.com
Angele (Nathalie Baye) has been working at a beauty parlour for years, and has become a confidante to her clients. Outside of her job, however, she avoids close relationships, preferring the thrill of one-night stands. When long-time admirer Antoine (Samuel Le Bihan) reveals his love for her, she begins to succumb, but matters are complicated when one of her customers pours her heart out about her boyfriend - who happens to be Angele's new lover!