Perhaps only the French could create a movie with the sexual heat of The School of Flesh. International star Isabelle Huppert, a strawberry-blonde beauty with brimming blue eyes, is Dominique, a successful businesswoman o... more »f "a certain age." Quentin (model-pretty Vincent Martinez) is a bisexual male hustler half her age. They begin an affair after meeting at a disco, and their relationship turns toxic in short order--a compulsion that neither can shake, with negative consequences for both. Each is drawn inexorably into a hurtful game of cat and mouse, switching roles back and forth with every round. More than anything else, the film does a truly convincing job of depicting the exquisite pain of addictive relationships. It is impossible not to become drawn into the enticing energy of the affair--to hope it won't end, while knowing it must. The School of Flesh takes us on an irresistible walk on the wild side. --Laura Mirsky« less
"I enjoyed this film! An older woman falls for the passionate eyes of a young bartender. She becomes a prisoner of her desires for his love. The aloof, yet caring and secretive persona of the young gentleman only adds to the anquish she experiences as love emotionally tears at their identities. The plot has interesting twists and turns. A good departure from hollywood."
Dorian M. | Pasadena, CA United States | 01/27/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"''L'Ecole de la Chair'' (School of Flesh), a candidly modern take on the search for intimacy, is the basis for a sensuous, sexy, and painfully passionate love affair between an older woman and a younger man. Dominique (Isabelle Huppert), a career-minded, well-off older woman meets Quentin (Vincent Martinez), a young street hustler with a mysterious background. From the start, and in spite of herself, Dominique responds to Quentin's obvious signs of interest, and they strike up a ''deal'': an affair, with no strings attached. Watch as these two beautifully sad beings duel for control and fight to entrap one another. Do they have a chance at love? I'll never tell! A subtle yet powerful movie, with characters you'll never forget. Quintessentially French in many ways, this is a fabulous dramatization of Yukio Mishima's Japanese novel (roughly translated as ''School of Love''), adapted to modern-day France. ''The School of Flesh'' will not be liked by everyone, of course, but if you're looking for a quiet, painstaking anatomy of the intricacies of heterosexual love, especially of the May-December variety, this is the movie for you. Buy it TODAY! This is a difficult DVD to locate. For movies that explore a similar topic with various settings and characters, also check out these movies: Indochine, Un Coeur en Hiver (A Heart in Winter), Nettoyage à sec (Dry Cleaning), Entre Nous (also with Isabelle Huppert)."
Tito Sierra | 07/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Isabelle Huppert and Vincent Martinez are superbly cast as victims of co-dependence. School of Flesh inverts the older-man young-woman theme and flavors it with contemporary nuances. Here we have an affluent older woman who gets off on the power money afford her, and a younger ambitious young man who prostitutes himself in more ways than one. This is no doubt a moral tale, though thankfully the director allows the viewer to make up his own mind about who abuses and who is abused, who is good and who is bad. The final scene is devastating, perhaps the best I've seen of films in this genre. Also, Isabelle Huppert is stunning--you may fall in love with her."
More French Sexual Alienation!
emperor_elagabalus | Jacksonville, Florida USA | 07/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A beautifully crafted film. Isabelle Huppert's acting is stunning. Her tears seem so authentic and she is given a strong, 3-dimensional role in this one. The wonderful story of a relationship between a bisexual prostitute and a more mature woman. Was it doomed to fail? Probably. But was it real? Yep. A good film to get lost in."
Long Live Queen Isabelle!
B. Berthold | Somewhere out west... | 11/08/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Isabelle Huppert is like one of those stars whose luminence never dims. She dominates every scene she steps into. And those characters she plays. Always strong women, who beneath their steely exteriors hide a million wounds. You never know where you will end up with her. In confusion. In a rage. In tears.The School of Flesh is no exception. It is all Huppert's feast with some tasty side-dishes as well. In it, she plays a confident and self-possessed doyen of the fashion industry, Dominque, who childless and partnerless, longs for somebody to love. While out with her girlfriend, they end up in a gay bar where Dominique's eyes rest upon the sexy bartender, Quentin(Vincent Martinez). Her gaze is surprisingly returned. In fact, the hunted soon turns on the hunter. Encouraged, Dominque, like a moth to the flame, returns to the source of her desire. Things start to roll and before she knows it, Quentin has moved in. With her invitation of course. A seemingly harmless arrangement. Dominique gets a sexy young lover, while Quentin gets financial and emotional security. But is there any real love between the two......or is it just a relationship of strict economics....need meeting need?Dominique begins to scratch the surface of her live-in lover's past and soon finds shaky ground. A fatherless family, an impoverished childhood, a prostitutional present and most of all, a disturbing emotional emptiness . Quentin uses sex to pay the bills and keep himself distanced from any true commitment, while Dominique is prepared to suffer any humiliation in order to keep her bed-treasure. She evens suffers the ultimate humiliation when Quentin elopes with a younger woman.
But Dominique's needs overpower her dignity.
She soons spirals down into emotional collapse, while Quentin's vanity blinds him. Oblivious to the pain he is causing, he misses out on the chance for real love. Dominque gives him everything and he appreciates none of it.School of Flesh is a cautionary tale about what happens when we seek to satisfy our desperate need for love and security at all costs. Even at the cost of dignity. This film coldly dissects the workings of a dependent relationship. The last scene when the ex-lovers meet anew is one of the best I've ever seen. Especially for those of us who've been there. Heartwrenching, you don't want to end like that, but deep down, you know it has to.As a modern fable, this film works. Sometimes though, it moves too quick with too much material......lots of little detours....Quentin's mother, fellow hustler friends, 'clients,' none of which really add anything to the story. Just there to tease you a bit. Or annoy. And confuse.But the film is kept on track by its trinity of characters. Huppert's intensity is the glue that holds it all together. Without it, the film would be all flash and lust. Martinez' laissez faire attitude and macho studliness provides the right contrast to Huppert's vulnerability. The third pillar, Chris, the bar-owning transvestite, intrigues with his oracle-like knowledge of Quentin's past. There's a subtle edge to him as if he were jealous of Dominque's treasure. A common past with Quentin is hinted at, but never developed.Overlooking these minor defects, School of Flesh is well worth sitting through, pondering over and experiencing. For Huppert fans and those in destructive relationships, it is a must see!"