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Pretty Baby 1978

A teenage girl lives as a prostitute in the early decades of America, only to know her body is for bounty...

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(2nd viewing -> previous rating: ***1/2 / ****)

***1/2 / ****
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One thing that we can say about Louis Malle is that, that man likes to deal with the controversal.
In this film he deals with child prostitution in a very unusual manner.

The plot is about women living in a luxurious brothel, set in New Orleans 1917. Violet (Brooke Shields) is twelve years old, born in the brothel. Her mother (Susan Sarandon) is a prostitute just like her mother was.
Violet has lived her whole 12 years old life in this brothel and knows that one day she will be able to wear fancy clothes, make up, beeing spoiled by rich men, just like her mother and the other girls at the brothel. This life looks so glamorous to her, in fact she just cannot wait to have her first man!
So the Madame arrange a big party with dozens and dozens of rich men from the high society of New Orleans, and sells Violet's virginity to the highest bidder.
Even though Violet was terribly hurt, she was mostly happy that she has finally become a woman now!

Assured of her charm and beauty, Voilet starts to behave badly, teasing the other kids on the brothel for not beeing as mature as she is and starts irritating her mother who has met a man who has agreed to marry her.
A man called Bellocq arrives at the brothel to photograph the beautiful prostitutes, Violet's mother among others, and Violet of course gets envious of all the attention her mother gets so she starts interrupting. But Bellocq doesn't treat Violet like the others do. He is in fact a little bit interested in Violet.
After beeing left by her mother and beeing beaten at the brothel she runs away to Bellocq's place and gets married with him. But after a while Violet's mother comes and wants Violet back, then Violet doesn't quite know; is she still a 12 year old child or is she a 12 year old woman?

The reason why this movie is so controversial is not just because it's about child prostitution, but also because there is no such thing as a morality tale in this story. Cause Violet was born in the brothel, and therefor it was only natural for her to prostitute herself. And Bellocq is rather fashinated then in love with Violet because of her way of beeing and her experience, for her age.

This movie is one of a kind and worth seeing. Even though some parts gets a little bit long, you have to admire Louis Malle's natural directing.
sick, twisted and shocking for the time it was made. now only moralizing, sick and boring. it's not a plesent thing to see a titless child running naked, too much is too much, and i'm not a puritan. susan sarandon is great as an unfit mother and prostitute, keith carradine is standardly good. but brooke shields is even creepier than in blue lagoon, and she's very creepy there.