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Plot: Sarah Morton is a famous British mystery author. Tired of London and seeking inspiration for her new novel, she accepts an offer from her publisher John Bosload to stay at his home in Luberon, in the South of France. It is the off-season, and Sarah finds that the beautiful country locale and… Runtime: 102 min Release Date: 01 Aug 2003
The Sara Morton character is sick and tired of writing her stock-in-trade serial books, and wishes for inspiration for something NEW. She says so to her publisher, who wants to keep her writing them, and offers her a stay at his French villa for a rest and change of scenery.Sara goes to the villa. We then see several scenes of just how much she enjoys the solitude, the sun, the quiet, the food. She breathes in deeply that fresh air, so different from the London cloudy skies, nameless crowds in the subways etc. that she came from. *** The sensuality of the landscape, the climate, even the <more>
pool, put her in a frame of mind different from the bored, fatigued frame of mind she had in London.*** This is the key to the movie . And, so, inspiration to write something a bit different does come: She starts writing another book, combining bits and pieces of given facts and given characters: The daughter that her publisher mentioned, appears in her manuscript as "Julie". All her attributes and behavior come from Sara's inspiration-"Julie" never actually comes to the villa. The rest is just how the book develops-and since she is an experienced writer of murder mysteries, a murder is written in too. She finishes the book, gets it published by a new publisher, takes it to her old publisher as an "I'll show you!", and this is where we see that she has never really met the daughter: A young girl with braces walks in, not recognizing Sara. That is the real-life daughter. One scene that is quite telling of where reality stops and her inspiration starts is that of Franck-the local waiter, cleaning leaves from the pool with the net, wearing a tiny bathing suit, before he stands over the sunbathing, sleeping "Julie". The camera goes slowly over his body and his obvious arousal, in close-up-not the way he could be seen from where Sara was standing, looking out at the pool. That is BEFORE he is shown arriving at the villa with "Julie".Well, the waiter is initially shown briefly serving Sara a drink in the village, and that's all he does. He doesn't work at the villa cleaning the pool-that is old Marcel's job. There is no other explanation about Franck suddenly being at the villa cleaning the pool, other than "that's how Sara wove the local waiter into her book".
`Swimming Pool' is one of the most chloroful, I mean, colorful films of the year. This ingenious unpredictable fable stars Charlotte Rampling as an impervious British mystery writer. Charlotte's web of mystery guides to her to a French villa where she inhabits for tranquility & inspiration for her next literary project. What Charlotte doesn't know is that she is about to be french fried when she discovers that the young voluptuous sex-crazed daughter of the owner of the villa has also decided to dive into the chateau. The middle-aged writer and the sexy nymph springboard into <more>
a few altercations. However, the film does take us to uncharted waters as our 2 main protagonists develop a friendship as a real life murder mystery unexpectedly develops. The villa's swimming pool is the primary centerpiece of the film's irregular occurrences. Rampling's sterling performance is head above water the best by a lead actress so far this year. However, it is Ludivine Sagnier who is the star in the making. Her screen charisma will definitely not drown yourself to boredom. Moreover, her topless swimming pool scenes are deserving of a gold medal for her incredible breaststroke competency. Director Francois Ozon explicit direction is this summer's hottest surprise. So why wait? Dive head first into the mystery and intrigue of `Swimming Pool'. ***** Excellent
An elegant puzzle of a movie, from the creative mind of Francois Ozon whom ever since his breakthrough hit SOUS LE SABLE is enjoying a major career high. SWIMMING POOL brings the viewer into the world of Sarah Morton, a writer of detective stories and close in essence to Anne Perry, Ruth Rendell, and Patricia Oornwell. She's tired of writing the same story over and over again... her favorite character is stale, and only the elderly really read her books anymore. There's no life... but a trip into the French countryside that her publisher John Bosload Charles Dance has her take <more>
brings forth unexpected twists when John's daughter Julie Ludivine Sagnier enters the picture. The two could be no more different if a wall were erected in front of them, and not just due to age: Julie is carefree, hedonistic, and a nudist who has sex with any man she can find and isn't up to apologize for her behavior. Sarah is the total opposite: restrained, spinsterish, an introspective woman who is only concerned in getting her novel done.For the longest -- the film's first hour, to be quite precise -- almost nothing of relevance happens. Ozon establishes a cerebral suspense in the fact that aside from the point that these two disparate women are meant to eventually and inevitably spar, he has Sarah's own disposition in delving into her own writing an exercise in suspense. Of course, a writer is a cannibal, and Sarah isn't averse to sneaking into Julie's room, read her diary, and delve into the girl's inner world... and later, in a move that seems completely out of tone for the way things seemed to be set, Sarah takes one step towards Julie, decides to become a sponge and absorb the younger girl's story. It sounds awfully familiar, and it is: SWIMMING POOL at least, to me bears more than a passing resemblance to Ingmar Bergman's PERSONA from 1966, a film that also was a two character tug-of-war that produced some unexpected results.Like Elisabeth Vogler, Sarah cannot produce. Like Alma, Julie pours her heart out and tells stories that a writer would have a field day with. In both cases, both women share an initial enmity that gradually becomes a co-dependence... and then, like amoebas absorbing from each other, a merging of the two, as reality gets swept from right under our feet and we realize that not everything was as it was, and entire events may not have taken place, but whatever truly happened, Sarah indeed became a freer person, and Julie a little more conservative. Ozon has this way of never truly telling you where the tricks of the story lie. In SOUS LE SABLE, it's never left clear if Marie Grillon's husband died, so when he comes back, for a moment, it seems like this is exactly what has happened. Here, the conceit takes a larger perspective, encompassing not just Sarah's trip to France but everything that follows from the moment Julie enters her life. It's very hard to talk more about this movie because to do so would mean revealing some details that are best left to anyone who would be interested in this kind of movie that seems destined for a small audience and is the kind that the United States does not make anymore, if it ever did .SWIMMING POOL is best to approach with a clean slate. It doesn't have moments of grandeur, nor moments of tragedy -- it evolves in a more lightweight manner, appropriate to the sunny countryside -- but has two outstanding performances from the always excellent Charlotte Rampling and the younger version of herself, Ludivine Sagnier. Both actresses have difficult roles. Sagnier, despite having to be near nude for the most of her participation on film, has depth of character, and Julie is a whole lot more than what she seems to be. Rampling essays a woman who has little interest in the outside world, but once confronted with a character who almost makes a discovery he'd rather not make, she takes a plunge -- literally -- and bares it all. Literally. And for an actress of her stature, that's risk which pays in droves.
Great movie that only women can understand! (by mlk1010)
You can see at the end that it is actually the one person who is seeing herself in two roles while she is in France - one as a nymphomaniac, fun-loving, rebellious girl that she has lost and the other, stronger personality of a frustrated, rejected, bitter woman. By the end of the movie, she has rediscovered herself as a combination of these two parts and can move on from her lover/publisher, one that will never leave his family, and start fresh as a whole woman. I think the symbolism of the murdered man is killing the man that likes the stronger personality, but cannot resist the temptation <more>
of a younger girl - just like her editor lover who cannot leave his wife but will indulge in side affairs. Killing him is getting rid of him from her life and allowing her to move on - which she does at the end when she moves to a new publisher. The daughter allowing her to write the mother's book is her giving herself permission to write about her own pain and rejection. This all comes together at the end when you meet the real daughter - the symbolism still keeps me thinking of each scene and what it actually meant.
... Ozon lets us see his characters directly; and then through the mind of Charlotte Rampling's as author character. Two strands apply - the direct-to-Ozon's mind, and the indirect, via Rampling. And there the fun begins. We glimpse a gawky, immature, teeth-in-bands teenager blonde towards the end of the movie - Morton the publisher's daughter. But who has this blonde Ludivine Sagnier - who has she been? And how did she get to be in the house/novel/movie at all? Well now, let me see ... we learn at the beginning that Morton's daughter might well drop-in on the writer - <more>
as she is only borrowing Morton's house in the Luberon area of Provence. We 'accept' an idea of the incumbent blonde in all probability as that spoken of daughter. But she seems like a 15-year-old going on 35!!! She has an amazing amount of baggage for such a seemingly young girl. And she gets into such torrid, bizarre, and ghastly gargantuan fixes - all seem too improbable. The mix-and-match mode - as strand crosses strand, weaving a rich texture of reality versus illusion, fiction versus fact, and dream versus daylight - the enjoyment being in the management in each viewer's mind of the strands, understanding when the author's fiction is being played-out across the screen; and when we are back again inside the movie-director's mind as opposed to one of his character's i.e the novelist . The local people encountered in the Luberon quickly become assimilated into Rampling's novel - their more outmodish acts being inventions of the novelist's mind but being re-played inside an Ozon movie . And characters we might think are kith and kin of the 'real' people we encounter, are in fact nothing but kin to the fine imaginings of the typing hand. Ludivine Sagnier being the case in point - and she a cruel joke against Morton's dismissive inattentions towards our writerly heroine. The gawky, tooth-banded teenager has, in all likelihood, been in Provence all along - and in the projection of the novelist's mind - fashioned into a femme-fatale that makes the LuDIVINE we see on our screens, and as the central protagonist of the Rampling novel, were it at hand to be read !
I enjoyed the film not only because it was situated near Bonnieux & Lacoste in the Luberon - gorgeous places I am very familiar with- but because of its pace, the luminosity and beauty of Ludivine Sagnier and the fact that the plot line allows various interpretations. One is left pondering long after the credits have rolled and even now, days after I originally saw the film, I am still thinking about it. Maybe after I've seen it again I will re-visit this page. As an old gaffer with a long memory, Ludivine reminds me of a youthful Brigitte Bardot. As for plotting and story line- it <more>
seems as though Sarah has taken advantage of her new surroundings and the strange nymphet character Julie to step outside the confines of her usual mystery story constructs. Thus she willingly gets involved in a murder, assists in covering it up and creates a new story that is out of keeping with her usual genre. She becomes part of the crime. Yet, this doesn't explain her actions vis a vis her publisher nor why Julie has murdered an innocent man. These questions bear more thought!!
Swimming Pool is a first rate film from French genius François Ozon. This thriller makes best use of everything that makes cinema great, and it is therefore a delight to view. Swimming Pool follows Sarah Morton, a British author that travels to her publisher's dream home in France in order to have a rest while she works on her new book. However, her tranquillity is soon disturbed when her publisher's daughter; a sex-crazed, good time girl, turns up out of the blue and turns Morton's rest into something quite different. One criticism that could be, and has been, made of this film <more>
is that not a lot a lot happens. That, however, depends on your viewpoint; the action is stretched, but the relaxed tone of the film blends magnificently with the beautiful French scenery, and Ozon's attention to detail with the characters ensures that, although slow, Swimming Pool never descends into boredom and there's always something on offer for it's audience to enjoy. I, personally, was completely entranced from start to finish.The casting of Charlotte Rampling as the uptight British novelist really was an inspired move. She's absolutely brilliant in the role, and you can't imagine anyone else playing that character to such a degree. Speaking of great casting choices, Ludivine Sagnier is similarly brilliant as Rampling's sexy co-star. She brings just the right amount of insecurity and lustfulness to her role, and it's not hard to see why Ozon continues to cast her in his movies. The film is very melodramatic, but never overacted; and this is a testament to the quality of acting on display. Swimming Pool benefits implicitly from a haunting soundtrack, which perfectly accents the happenings on screen, and certain points in the movie where the soundtrack is used are truly electrifying. François Ozon is truly one of cinema's greatest assets at the moment. This is only my second taste of his work the hilariously fabulous 'Sitcom' being the other , and if his backlog and future releases match the quality of the two films I've seen from him so far; he may well become one of cinema's all time greats.
First of all: I like this type of film very much! I was surprised by many comments that talk about a 'foreign film'. As if films from other countries than the USA should have to prove themselves extra... No way! On the contrary! Living in Europe, this isn't a foreign film for me! I was brought up in the sixties, and enjoyed the film-noir genre, the character movies, the French and Italian philosophical movies, the black-and-white films, the films made by the actors, the director and the plot together. So, Swimming Pool is a film that makes me sit on the point of my chair for more <more>
than 1 hour and a half. It is an intriguing story, the entire atmosphere is inviting, makes you feel good and being with Sarah/Charlotte all at once. The interference with Sarah and Julie is ambiguous. The continuing layer of lesbian love lays upon their relation, no matter what they do to each other in the beginning of the story. It's a kind of hidden suspense... Ludivine who plays Julie is a beautiful, well shaped young girl, with a marvelous body, but even Charlotte Rampling is outspoken and gave herself to the film and to the director, Francois Ozon. A great movie. Just absorb what you see...
I first saw the trailer for this film at Fredddy vs. Jason back in '03 and me and my friend were in hysterics at how lame it looked. He recently bought me the film on DVD as a 'joke' birthday present but ironically now sits proudly on my DVD shelf as one of my favourite films.Although very slow moving it is beautifully shot and the soundtrack is fantastic. The characters are brilliant and the acting is flawless. It gets more complex in the second half and is quite difficult to understand the twists in the plot. It draws you in right from the very start and doesn't let you go <more>