ELLES Exploring the daunting challenge of being white, French, and rich.

ANNE IS ON DEADLINE. A writer for French Elle, the mother of two (Juliette Binoche) languishes in her fabulous Paris apartment, afflicted by the usual ailments of the upper-middle-class: Her teenage son's been smoking weed, her husband is distant, and she needs to finish her coq au vin in time for a dinner party.

Elles takes us through her day, spent intermittently typing in pajamas, doing a little Pilates, a little masturbating, cutting and burning her hand while cooking, and—mostly—jealously recalling the lengthy interviews she conducted with two young college students working their way through school as prostitutes—the subjects of her article. Charlotte (Anaïs Demoustier) is a nice girl from the wrong side of the tracks, and Alicja (Joanna Kulig) is a sassy Eastern European immigrant who gets Anne drunk on vodka and club music during their interview. Anne probes them on their motives (rent, leather jackets) and difficulties (double lives require above-average organizational skills), imagining the lurid scenes they describe in NC-17 detail.

Despite the moral implications of the task at hand, Anne, along with director Malgorzata Szumowska, seems more concerned with glamorizing these young women's circumstances than making any useful social comment. In fact, the film says little at all, mainly utilizing its premise as an excuse for soft-core fantasies in which the clients aren't particularly hideous or cruel (barring one uncomfortable incident with a wine bottle). Which isn't terrible—but it's not terribly ambitious, either.