Swimming Pool (2003) [Review]

A British mystery author visits her publisher’s home in the South of France, where her interaction with his unusual daughter sets off some touchy dynamics.

Swimming Pool is the first film I have delved into from my recent Fopp purchases, as Francois Ozon’s latest film The New Girlfriend hit cinemas recently (a film I saw, but am yet to review), his filmography has been promoted and discounted in many stores. I will hold my hands up, and openly admit that I had not seen his work before, but was excited at the prospect of watching it. Not knowing what to expect, like a swimming pool, I jumped right in.

Pitched as a French/British Erotic-Thriller film, it follows a restless British crime author (Charlotte Rampling) who grows weary of her life in the city and the redundant fame it has brought her. To her surprise, her publisher offers her his holiday house in France in order to relax and unwind, seeking complete solitude the regain her inspiration. This traditionally stern woman is met by a free spirit, the publishers daughter (Ludivine Sagnier), who parades around topless and sleeps with multiple guys from the village. She oozes confidence, sexuality and her promiscuous nature unsettles the previously focussed author.

The film at this point goes on a strange journey, lifting you from the relaxed nature of the holiday house into something all the more interesting, lustful and surreal. To state anymore in relation to the story itself would give it away, but step by step as the characters adapt to each other we see their layers peeled back; revealing paranoia, uncertainty and sexual desire. The performances are both so on point, that to give any further description about how their situation escalates would surely do a disservice to just how good it actually was.

As the language blends seamlessly from French to English and back again, so does the dreamlike sequences and paranoid state our holidaying author enters. It is an intriguing ride, and one that leaves the viewer guessing until all the pieces fall into place. Even then, you will wish you had paid closer attention. After watching you can go and look for explanations or theories to see if yours match up, but until then I will leave it a mystery and urge you to watch it.

This thriller set out to thrill and excite, and it delivered. It’s a mysterious movie, and if you intend on watching it, try and keep it that way. That’s half the fun.

8 responses to “Swimming Pool (2003) [Review]

    • Cheers Cindy. Making a start on his back-catalog of films as well as a couple of others. Going for a Xavier Dolan double bill tonight, and as I said on your article, the Haneke boxset will be attacked in due course!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Nice! I adore this flick. Charlotte Rampling is goddamned fearless when she’s in front of the camera. This movie is really one her best. I love watching her keep it subtle and then utter freakin’ shock us.


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