Film Scouts Reviews


by Richard Schwartz

Sundance boasts some of the year's finest documentaries, but Katharina Otto's "Beautopia" isn't one of them. The long-winded look into the careers of four aspiring teenage supermodels offers little insight into either the modeling business or the motivations of the girls themselves.

At the outset of the 103-minute film, Otto shares some interesting points to explain that modeling is not merely another frivolous and amusing documentary subject. The stakes are much higher. Modeling is the only profession where the average salary of women exceeds that of men. Sixty-five percent of teenage girls want to model.

Instead of probing these intriguing issues, Otto instead decided to take the "Pumping Iron" route and simply follow the models around to shoots and restaurants in New York, Paris, Milan and Hamburg. This method reveals surprisingly little about the girls' personalities and the few backroom glimpses seem to provide few shocking disclosures about the modeling business. Douglas Keeve's "Unzipped" exposed the fashion industry in a much more effective manner and Otto can only strive to keep pace. Unfortunately, she doesn't.

Hampering the film's pacing even more so is the far-too-frequent sing-songy voice-over by Otto, whose broken English serves less as a narrative device than a constant annoyance. If only Otto had held her tongue and allow the models to speak more, "Beautopia" would have been a far richer documentary.

Back to 1998 Sundance Film Festival Reviews

Back to Beautopia

Back to the Press Room

Look for Search Tips

Copyright 1994-2008 Film Scouts LLC
Created, produced, and published by Film Scouts LLC
Film Scouts® is a registered trademark of Film Scouts LLC
All rights reserved.

Suggestions? Comments? Fill out our Feedback Form.