Luc Besson's 1994 cult classic Léon: The Professional stars a young Natalie Portman as Mathilda Lando, a 12-year-old girl who seeks hitman Léon Montana's companionship after her family is slain. Featuring Portman's first film role, the movie garnered critical acclaim before eventually becoming a beloved assassin film. In the years since, however, allegations have emerged about the film production's on-set drama - some rumors concern Besson's direction of 12-year-old Portman. What makes things more disturbing about the classic film is that some claim the story was inspired by Besson's relationship with a 15-year-old girl.
When you rewatch the movie with this context in mind, Léon: The Professional behind-the-scenes stories appear less shocking than the film's subject matter. As Luc Besson movies go, Léon is arguably his most beloved - but the flick's popularity does not negate its problematic aspects. Let's break down exactly what makes Léon: The Professional so messed up.