Emmanuelle Bercot (shown at right), and made for French television! (Any lingering doubts about the vast difference between what is considered adult TV fare here and in Europe should now be put to rest.) Ms Bercot -- who earlier gave us the terrific rock-star-and-her-obsessed-fan film Backstage -- sees to it that we, just as does her heroine Laura, understand exactly what that money earned is going to buy. After her first encounter, Laura (below) joins some friends at a local bar, and through her eyes, suddenly every drink, every cup of coffee has a price-tag attached.
Benjamin Siksou, above) seems more interested in her as a cash cow than as a love (or even sex) object.
Her next man, nicely played by Mathieu Demy (above), tries hard to get around her profession -- using it to turn himself on, as a means to prove he's not jealous, even living off her for a time. But it's finally too much for this relatively decent-but-problemed fellow.
Alain Cauchi (above) with a wonderful combination care and scare. Ms Bercot and the superb actress who plays Laura -- Déborah François -- see to it that we are always kept off-balance by each assignation, wondering where it may go and if Laura will be harmed or cheated of her pay. The film certainly does not stint on sex scenes or nudity, yet it is absolutely not prurient. We are always made aware of how Laura feels in any situation, and so for mature viewers this will register much more strongly than the male need for satisfaction. (Sorry, porno-freaks, you'd best look elsewhere.)
the Dardennes' The Child to The Page Turner, Unmade Beds and the crack comedy, as-yet-unreleased theatrically in the USA, Fais-moi plaisir! -- shows yet another side of her versatility here, and she's as good as she's ever been, which is saying something. She imbues Laura with such quiet, stern, hopeful life (watch her face, in language class, as she recites beautifully in Spanish, as her professor looks on) that she turns this very good movie into a memorable one.
Formerly shown on VOD as part of the IFC Midnight selections, Student Services is now available on DVD and via streaming from Netflix. The latter is how TrustMovies watched it, and the quality -- enabled by Time-Warner Cable's new "pay us more and we'll see to it that you can stream movies properly" enhancement, was first-rate. I'll have more to say later about this new "deal" whereby cable companies get to charge us even more for giving us what they ought to provide already.