Pretty Baby | Chicago Reader

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Louis Malle's method sometimes seems to consist of taking a sensational subject and draining all the sensation from it. Occasionally, his approach produces a genuinely fresh moral perspective, as in the treatment of incest in Murmur of the Heart. But just as often it results in a film as dull and lifeless as Pretty Baby (1978), in which the romance of an ascetic photographer (Keith Carradine) and a 12-year-old prostitute (Brooke Shields) is presented as the most natural thing in the world, and hence ceases to have any interest whatsoever. A bore, but Sven Nykvist's loving photography of the 1917 New Orleans setting offers some consolation. 110 min.

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