YVES SAINT LAURENT *** (out of five)
On the one hand a completely conventional biopic, on the other a rather ravishing love story, the quite incredibly literally-minded Yves Saint Laurent – the first of two films about the designer, who died in 2008, due out this year – earns its strongest stripes where it should: in the realm of style.
The cookie-cutter recipe for biopics – perhaps exemplified best in the past decade by Ray and Walk The Line – looks at an artist’s Great Love, their Art and Career, their drug and alcohol problems, and their redemption – pretty much in that order, both of importance and chronology, and Yves Saint Laurent follows the recipe as strictly as a seamstress follows a pattern.
But if there’s nothing sensational in the film’s structure, it’s fabulous, darling, in the frocks, the faces and everything French. Yves and partner Pierre live in a stunning apartment with a terrace that overlooks the rooftops of Paris, and whenever they’re out there – which is often, talking fashion with their belles amies, and usually drinking champagne – you’re just happy to be there with them. If the film is a triumph of style over substance, that’s not necessarily something Yves would have disapproved of.