YVES SAINT LAURENT was one of the great geniuses of 20th century fashion. He contemporized the traditions of old-world couture for a newly liberated women of the '60s and '70s—which is where the louche, hallucinogenic Saint Laurent steps in, capturing Laurent, played here by Gaspard Ulliel, at the height of both his fame and his self-destruction.
Director Bertrand Bonello takes a disorienting, nonlinear approach to this portrait: He seems to have little interest in the designer's actual work (a dismissive split-screen scene dispatches with most of it by showing a single look of each collection on one side, and archival images of period-appropriate social upheaval on the other). Instead, Laurent's a pastiche of the designer's dark personal life—soaked in alcohol, blood, and the vomit of a pill-overdosing French bulldog. Rather than focus on the famous relationship between Laurent and his business partner Pierre Bergé (Jérémie Renier), Bonello gets hung up on Laurent's affair with Karl Lagerfeld model Jacques de Bascher (Louis Garrel), his penchant for bondage making for provocative sex-party scenes.
In other words: Don't go to Saint Laurent for information. Go to watch gorgeous people in cool clothes take drugs and make out. For two and a half hours. That is all.