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Swimming Pool

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Swimming Pool

Starring: Charlotte Rampling, Ludivine Sagnier
Director: Francois Ozon
Rated: R
RunTime: 102 Minutes
Release Date: July 2003
Genres: Drama, Thriller, French


*Also starring: Charles Dance, Marc Fayolle, Jean-Marie Lamour, Mireille Mosse, Michel Fau, Jean-Claude Lecas, Emilie Gavois-Kahn, Erarde Forestali



Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

French filmmaker Francois Ozon's first predominantly English film sizzles with intrigue. The seductive story begins as a British publisher (Charles Dance) offers a discontented, best-selling mystery writer, Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling), his house in idyllic Provence in the off-season. Weary of caring for her elderly father, Sarah's grateful to get away from London and relax in the south of France for a few weeks, hoping to get her creative juices flowing again. But as soon as she gets settled with her laptop in the refreshing sunshine, her serenity is shattered when her publisher's free-spirited teenage daughter Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) unexpectedly arrives and settles into the spare bedroom. Lusty and uninhibited, Julie parades around nude and brings a different man back to the house each night. Friction erupts between the prim, repressed spinster and the naughty nymphet. For awhile, it seems as if the two women are headed for a Sapphic duet. But that's just a tease before Ozon and his writing partner, Emanuele Bernheim, twist the tale into a suspense thriller. Suddenly, there are blots of blood on the deck of the swimming pool and a handsome waiter has disappeared. And the final fillip may have you reeling with confusion. What is reality and what has occurred in Sarah Morton's fertile imagination?

Blessed with a mobile, expressive face atop a superb body, Charlotte Rampling continues her penchant for shocking, full-frontal nudity, recalling when she coupled on broken glass with Dirk Bogarde in "The Night Porter" (1974), while Ludivine Sagnier is totally convincing as the confused hedonist. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Swimming Pool" is a tantalizing, off-beat, ambiguous 8 - but don't expect any easy answers to the inevitable questions that remain.

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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