Mexican filmmaker Carlos Marcovich tries to pose a lot of questions in "Who the hell is Juliette?" But the one the film really poses is why anyone would want to spend any amount of time with the main subject.
That's not to say that Yuliet Ortega is a horrible person, but the Cuban teenager is so irritating and her sense of morality so troubling that this fact-based drama quickly becomes an endurance test.
Besides, it doesn't help that Marcovich, who shot the movie documentary-style despite the fact that it is scripted, strays from subject to subject so often that the main point gets lost.
The film purportedly details true incidents from Ortega's troubled childhood. Her father, Victor, left his wife and infant children so he could resettle in the United States. A year later, her mother committed suicide. Consequently, the street-smart 16-year-old has resorted to selling her body just to make ends meet.
Serving as a stark contrast to Yuliet's story is that of Fabiola Quiroz, a Mexican model who came from a similar background (her stepfather died when she was young, and she never knew her real father).
Eventually, those two threads are wound together when Fabiola who appeared with Yuliet in a music video offers the girl a chance to become a model and escape the Cuban barrios. Yuliet also meets her father, who has started a family in New Jersey.
There are some intriguing ideas and stories here, but they're buried beneath an avalanche of pretentiously arty storytelling techniques and other odd forays into fictional fantasy.
Even more bizarre is the superficial manner in which the interviewees and Marcovich treat some very serious subject matter, including rape, suicide and child physical abuse.
Also, his idea of humor (such as purposely misspelling Ortega's first name in the credits) just isn't funny.
"Who the hell is Juliette?" is not rated but would probably receive an R for vulgar sex talk and references, profanity, violent slapping and some female nudity.