America the Beautiful | Chicago Reader

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Rated R · 105 minutes

Director Darryl Roberts (How U Like Me Now) makes his feature documentary debut (2007) with this unexpectedly witty and affecting exposé of the American beauty industry. Starting out as an essay on contemporary male attitudes about female beauty, the movie expands into an examination of the larger societal forces that influence and reinforce those attitudes, particularly the synergy between fashion magazines, advertising and modeling agencies, plastic surgeons, and the cosmetics industry. Roberts casts a wide net here, almost too wide at times, but the narrative thread that holds it all together is his devastating account of a 12-year-old fashion model's decline from fashion superstar to unwanted has-been.

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