Pretty Baby

  • 1978
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama

Beautifully shot and subtly rendered, but too slowly told for its ambiguities to really be effective. Violet (Brooke Shields) lives with her mother, Hattie (Susan Sarandon), a prostitute in 1917 New Orleans. Her touching innocence seems unaffected even when, at the age of twelve, her virginity is auctioned off for the princely sum of $400. After leaving...read more

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Beautifully shot and subtly rendered, but too slowly told for its ambiguities to really be effective. Violet (Brooke Shields) lives with her mother, Hattie (Susan Sarandon), a prostitute in 1917 New Orleans. Her touching innocence seems unaffected even when, at the age of twelve, her

virginity is auctioned off for the princely sum of $400. After leaving the brothel to live for a while with photographer E.J. Bellocq (a real-life figure), Violet is eventually reunited with her mother, who has escaped the brothel for a more "respectable" life on the outside.

The strength of Malle's film lies in its simultaneous presentation of two viewpoints: that of Violet, whose sweetly innocent appreciation of her life is so convincing that we feel her entry into "civilized" society will be her downfall; and that of Bellocq, who sees the girl and her surroundings

as both erotically compelling and artistically challenging. Cinematographer Nykvist does a superlative job of capturing this luxuriant world-unto-itself, but the pace is so slow that, by the end, we've given up caring about Malle's characters, let alone his critique of bourgeois morality.

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  • Released: 1978
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Beautifully shot and subtly rendered, but too slowly told for its ambiguities to really be effective. Violet (Brooke Shields) lives with her mother, Hattie (Susan Sarandon), a prostitute in 1917 New Orleans. Her touching innocence seems unaffected even whe… (more)

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