Yves Saint Laurent was a great many things. An artist, a visionary, a genius of his craft, but was he nice?
Saint Laurent directed by Bertrand Bonello suggests that the eponymous Yves was indeed many of these things, and beside them; narcissistic, hedonistic, callous, and certainly not, and by no means, nice.
There is something inescapably boring about nice people. They’re the first you want on the scene when you leave your phone in an Uber, and they’re the very last you want when you have to get the party started. Interesting people are nice to a point, and that point tends to be a cutting one.
But venom is only tolerable in small doses. Saint Laurent’s youthful Yves, played by the scintillatingly believable Gaspard Ulliel, has a genius that is inflicted with one too many poisonous bites. Yves finds love in the wrong places, lust in even wronger ones, and inspiration in shattered champagne flutes.
Broken glass, bare balls aplenty, and fabulous fashion, at 150 minutes the film pushes the boundaries of courtesy, but it does so with an uncommon elegance, and breathtaking chic. The soundtrack is second only to the clothes in exquisiteness, and with splashes of sound, and roars of color Saint Laurent gives a rich historical retelling of the life and times of one of the 20th century’s most stylish vipers.
Saint Laurent goes into limited release in the US on May 8.