Yves Saint Laurent Image
Metascore
51

Mixed or average reviews - based on 25 Critics What's this?

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6.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 25
  2. Negative: 2 out of 25
  1. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Jun 24, 2014
    80
    Jalil Lespert's Yves Saint Laurent tries to sweep the evanescent butterfly Yves into its net: The movie isn't enough, but it's something.
  2. Reviewed by: Stephan Lee
    Jun 27, 2014
    75
    Scenes between YSL and rock-steady lover Pierre Bergé (Guillaume Gallienne) spark, but the film stays too reverent to truly turn heads.
  3. Reviewed by: Mary Houlihan
    Aug 28, 2014
    63
    Lespert’s film, made with Berge’s blessing, does not sugarcoat the demons that plagued Saint Laurent.
  4. Reviewed by: Kate Stables
    Mar 18, 2014
    60
    Jalil Lespert’s film treats its hero with a high seriousness that not even Niney’s uncanny portrayal of YSL’s artistry and mental fragility can justify.
  5. Reviewed by: Nicolas Rapold
    Jun 24, 2014
    50
    Mr. Lespert and his screenwriters tend to telegraph what’s happening next with on-the-nose dialogue, leaving behind an orderly but not vividly realized biography (or necessarily a complete one).
  6. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Jun 25, 2014
    40
    Yves Saint Laurent is the kind of heavy-handed, substance-light, spectacle-driven period film where the set decorator and the costume designer don’t just have the most important jobs on the film, they have the only important jobs.
  7. Reviewed by: Stephanie Merry
    Jul 17, 2014
    37
    The film is artfully shot with eye candy galore: sumptuous dresses, beautiful people and scenes from Pierre and Yves’s time in Morocco. But for all its visual stimulation, the story does little to awaken emotions.

See all 25 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Jun 25, 2014
    7
    Yves Saint Laurent has a free flowing naturalness to it which makes it compelling. The loosely structured screenplay also eschews the usualYves Saint Laurent has a free flowing naturalness to it which makes it compelling. The loosely structured screenplay also eschews the usual conventional boring bits of childhood's formative years. These sequences can often plague many a bio-pic and have been wisely omitted here. In fact, the film only deals with a relatively small period of the designer's life. Pierre Niney, I am told, has been made to look very much like the real man and his performance is suitably impressive. However, I must admit to being more taken with Guillaume Gallienne in the less showy role of his business manager, cum real life partner. A perfect case of less is more. The film is assisted immeasurable by a wonderful score which changes its style with the decades.

    On the negative side I would say that the film loses its way slightly during the period in the sixties when YSL was on a mission of self destruction. The interest does slightly wane here. Also, it would have been informative for an end title card to advise viewers as to the cause of its subjects death. Still, overall it has been critically underrated.
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  2. May 1, 2015
    6
    a double feature with Saint Laurent

    It is rather unusual that two French biographic films about the prêt-à-porter fashion icon Yves Saint
    a double feature with Saint Laurent

    It is rather unusual that two French biographic films about the prêt-à-porter fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent (1936-2008) both came out in the same calendar year, YVES SAINT LAURENT opened in January 2014, directed by actor-turns-director Jalil Lespert, stars a rather unknown Pierre Niney as our protagonist and Guillaume Gallienne (the triple threat of 2014 CÉSAR AWARDS winner ME, MYSELF AND MUM 2013, 7/10) as his business partner and life companion Pierre Bergé. While Bertrand Bonello’s more ambitious and high-profile SAINT LAURENT debuted in Cannes last year, with Gaspard Ulliel and Jérémie Renier take the central roles as Yves and Pierre.

    keep reading my review on my blog, please google: cinema omnivore, thanks!
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  3. Aug 18, 2014
    5
    Becoming a trend-setter in the fashion industry can be quite the challenge, but making a fashion movie with some cinematic and historicalBecoming a trend-setter in the fashion industry can be quite the challenge, but making a fashion movie with some cinematic and historical merit is the real challenge many have been willing to accept, and have failed miserably. Even though there are so many irreplaceable names within fashion with such interesting stories to tell (Dior, Arden, Versace, Ford, Varvatos, Gucci and Chanel to name a few), director Jalil Lespert chooses Yves Saint Laurent; one of the few fashion icons to have his pieces of high fashion and considerably iconic art pieces displayed in museums and prestigious art galleries around the world. Yet, with Yves Saint Laurent, we aren’t quite sure if that is simply enough for a biopic of this stature.

    Lacking any real panache and coming undone at the poorly constructed narrative seams, Yves Saint Laurent becomes a retro-fitted cinematic mess that, similar to many of Luarent’s pieces, is more fun to look at than to wear, or in this case, follow narratively. Yves Saint Laurent depicts the tormented life of a genius, torn apart by the luxuries of high living and fame at too young an age. While Laurent could never possibly be taken away from being a visionary, his newest film by veteran French actor Jalil Lespert focuses more on its grainy, melancholic exterior than it does with coherently telling the story of one of the most revolutionary haute couture designers of the mid-1900’s.

    One of Lespert’s greatest facilitators of telling Laurent’s story is sex, and his story begins at the tender age of a twenty-one when Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent (Pierre Niney) was simply the assistant to Christian Dior. Lespert’s film is a daunting task of understanding the ambiguity of silence and the mixed feelings of Laurent, who makes advances to his female friend and model Victoire Doutreleau (Charlotte Le Bon), yet exchanges undressing glares to his Algerian male gardener–this introduction of the film really throws audiences off. Thankfully, the slight glimmer of brilliance that is Lespert’s film is understood fully once it is revealed that Laurent is a homosexual, and falls in love with Pierre Bergé (Guillaume Gallienne) in a seamlessly idyllic visit to a friend’s Northern villa. Although Laurent’s marriage to Bergé is never seen on film, rather, the tyrannical disputes of power within Laurent’s fashion empire and the constant sexual espionage between the couple is used to replace some of the fluffy, real life moments between the couple, the real life Bergé applauded the film for being a rather authentic look of the life of he and his questionable true love. It’s too bad Lespert’s film is ruined with an annoying voice-over narration that reveals the film as B-grade cinema rather than stuffy, fine-French cinema couture.

    Lespert is keen on making it clear that, Laurent had always led a privileged life, despite the horrors occurring in Oran, French Algeria (his birthplace) at the time of the late 1950’s, and his family’s move away from Algeria at the time and into France. Villa to villa, despite Laurent’s apparent talent for fashion and designing, it shows just how much luck (good and bad), and being at the right place at the right time gave Laurent the opportunity to head the House of Dior, following Dior’s sudden death at the age of fifty-two. But, the impact of the Algerian War of Independence doesn’t stop there as it sucks Laurent back in when he is conscripted to join the French Army. Despite being the head of the House of Dior, Laurent enlists, only to be subjected to wide variety of medical tests that lead to illness, with tortuous means of remedy and an expulsion as Head Designer and a chance to head his own fashion house in the early 1960’s, YSL.

    One of Yves Saint Laurent’s strengths as a film is showing the relationship between our self titled character and giving audiences a glimpse into the complicated life that he and his life partner, Bergé, really had. The heart of the film is seen between Niney and Gallienne, who give great insight on the chemistry between the great minds of such a powerful fashion brand and the inner workings of business geniuses, but a poorly matched couple. While watching the film, I couldn’t help but notice how tasteful and well-constructed the scenes and relationship between Bergé and Laurent is highlighted, while earlier films this year, specifically the narratively crippled James Brown biopic Get On Up hardly gives justice to the complex inner workings of the business partnership and friendship between James Brown and notoriously anonymous Bobby Byrd.
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