One of the most iconic designers of the 20th century, Yves Saint Laurent made a stunning debut at age 21 and seemingly never stopped enthralling the world with his creations. This movie tells us otherwise: Saint Laurent (played by Pierre Niney) had his share and more of hurt, humiliation and disappointment.
“Yves Saint Laurent” often fails to get that across: Laurent himself remains unapproachable and coldly perfect — much like a runway model who does a quick-turn before receding into the distance. We’re left to patch together vignettes and episodic slivers to figure out who the man really was. But still he remains remote and elusive.
Most regrettable of all is the way the film glosses over milestones in his career, such as dressing women in tuxedos or draping their bodies in what appeared to be flour sacks, consequently taking notions of female sexuality to another level. As it is, the warmest presence in the film is Saint Laurent’s longtime partner Pierre Berge (played by Guillaume Gallienne), who gets to emote and show he has real blood coursing through his veins. Everything and everyone else is gorgeous to look at but icy to the touch.