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The Neon Demon - Film Review

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by Karli Sample (subscribe)
Avid theatre-goer, self-proclaimed foodie and crazy dog lady!
Published October 23rd 2016
Beauty isn't everything It’s the only thing
When aspiring teen model Jesse (Elle Fanning) moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will use any means necessary to get what she has.

Image: Madman Entertainment


Orphaned 16-year-old Jesse checks into a seedy motel run by Hank; a mean, sleazy manager (Keanu Reeves). She befriends a photographer Dean (Karl Glusman) from Craigslist, who takes her first amateur model shots.

Make-up artist / morgue worker Ruby (Jenna Malone) is intrigued by her innocence and beauty and quickly strikes up a friendship (and has a keen eye for something more). She invites Jesse to a party where she meets models Gigi (Bella Heathcote) and Sarah (Abbey Lee) who are obsessed with being the best – and are instantly envious of her fresh innocent look. We quickly learn they will do whatever it takes in the name of fame and beauty.

After Jesse has an interview at a big modelling agency, her new agent advises her to lie about her age and tells her she is going to be the next big thing. Jesse's new world is completely narcissistic and we learn how bold yet completely naive she is.

Her first gig is organised with a prestigious, albeit creepy photographer who instantly makes everyone leave the room and asks her to remove her clothing – a raw and uncomfortable scene which really captures how men often take advantage of young women in the industry.

This was one of many cringe-worthy moments (cue necrophilia and cannibalistic scenes) but at the same time, the film was so visually intoxicating. I left feeling divided – it was definitely a feast for the eyes but as far as storyline goes, a little confusing and underdeveloped.

In cinemas from 20th October, 2016. View the trailer for The Neon Demon:

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