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Overall Rating

Awesome: 28.1%
Worth A Look35.54%
Just Average: 8.26%
Pretty Crappy: 19.83%
Sucks: 8.26%

5 reviews, 91 user ratings

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Swimming Pool
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by Erik Childress

"Take Your French Twists And Go Home!"
2 stars

Some “arthouse” films are subdued works designed for everything to be internal and multi-interpretive. Others have directors putting on a big and flashy show trying to externalize how clever they’re being. Swimming Pool maximizes both forms presenting a story with multiple ways of examination. Some will fail to see the vision when it’s all over; others will proclaim it as a subtle genius paralleling two lives through fiction and reality. Seeing all the angles for myself, unsure of the correct solution but aware of all the possibilities, the only conclusion I could come to was how I didn’t give a hot damn about any of them.

Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling) is an aging mystery novelist. With her publisher (Charles Dance) about to sign a new, younger breed to the firm, she takes him up on the offer to gather her inspiration at his country home in France. No distractions. No pressure. Just her and her thoughts. Until Julie arrives.

Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) is her boss’ daughter, a hot young thing ready for a new suitor every night. She’s messy, inconsiderate, bratty; in other words, a teenager. Nothing’s more disturbing to a writer than the shattered whispers of silence and when the concentration’s broken, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. If bonding is all it takes to get some peace and quiet, so be it. And what better way to bond then when fiction and reality meet at a deadly crossroads, to keep in tune with the newfound clichés of the film.

Swimming Pool doesn’t depend in such artifices to create a plot. It’s a late addition to a character study where one broods and the other acts out, prepared to tell you exactly what she’s thinking. What exactly the parallel is between the two is hinted at in scene after scene but may not trigger all the options until its final scene.

Rampling’s character implies herself on the wagon. The enjoyment of her solitude still only allows for large indulgences of yogurt. If Down with Love’s chocolate-for-sex substitute is to be taken at face value, then suddently you’re loking at a 50+ woman vicariously living through maybe a spitting image of her younger self while her sex appeal limits her beyond the men she could once attract. (A theory further cemented by a character played by an actress with Rapid Aging Syndrome.) That final iamge calls every reality into question as we wonder about the true history of Sarah’s relationship with her boss and exactly how much fiction has leaked into the audience’s perceptive reality of the story.

The other image that lingers is that of Ludivine Sagnier. Perhaps not the most naturally pretty of big screen sex objects; but an object of lust she certainly is. Normally I’ve not inclined to comment below the neckline, but director Francois Ozon has presented no choice since one-third of the footage consists of slow pans of her body, compromising positions with others (and her own hand) and enough topless shots to make you wonder if she’s ever heard of a tanktop. I realize I’ve just sold the movie to horny guys looking to gaze upon lustful teens everywhere, but just remember that you can lead a whore to drink, but she’ll make you pay for it.

Swimming Pool eases along its path like an afternoon at poolside; bright and colorful but not very productive clockwise. Interpret the outcome anyway you want, but while you pat yourself on the back for figuring it out and Ozon for constructing the puzzle, if you can well up a single emotion or care a bit about its characters than you took away more than I did. So grow old you hag. Slut away you young tramp. In the movie there may be a fantasy world where publishers believe you most personal work is your best, but it sure doesn’t translate into my reality.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=7810&reviewer=198
originally posted: 07/02/03 03:19:10
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sydney Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sydney Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

7/12/16 Johnb274 you have a terrific blog here! would you like to make some invite posts on my weblog? aeaeg 5 stars
7/11/16 Johnc0 I really appreciate this post. I have been looking everywhere for this! Thank goodness I fo 5 stars
1/14/11 WYNN What a great site. Very impressive!!! Your site is an Internet resource. I'd like to put a 5 stars
9/29/10 aryan so nice 1 stars
12/30/09 name comment6, 4 stars
9/14/09 alexk570 Very nice site! 5 stars
1/14/07 David Pollastrini Ludivine Sagnier is hot! 4 stars
12/18/06 Charles Tatum Sagnier is a joy to look at 3 stars
12/04/06 Lynne Intriging but found the ending unsatisfying. 4 stars
6/27/06 popy xxx 5 stars
5/20/06 anil gurung it is fantastic 5 stars
12/18/05 Bree This movie looked so cool and was very disappointed. Ending was okay though. 2 stars
10/10/05 Morten A movie that demands action from the viewer (needs to be interoperated to make sense). 5 stars
8/09/05 kristen interesting film 4 stars
7/31/05 candence I got sucked in because it looked interesting but the ending gave NO closure! MEANINGLESS! 1 stars
5/27/05 mike sexy chick, captivating story 4 stars
5/25/05 Michael H. Korman Great movie, the performances are fabuous, the ending twists into what? 5 stars
4/30/05 Eleanor Pretending to be smart. But does't change the fact that it's crap. 1 stars
2/04/05 Cyn A. Matique Great story, great cinematography, and tons of female full frontal nudity...a must see! 5 stars
10/16/04 Pollo Good photography, boring movie, interesting final. 3 stars
10/11/04 Jim very good 4 stars
9/19/04 denny interesting; challenging 4 stars
9/19/04 Andy deGaust Excellent, thought provoking story line 5 stars
8/30/04 Jeff The ending cheats you out of what would otherwise be a nice movie-watching experience 1 stars
7/26/04 humpa very intriguing 5 stars
7/26/04 Lisa Lussier I liked it a lot 4 stars
7/19/04 Phil M. Aficionado It's pretty bad, actually, bad pacing, unbelievable plot twists. But Rampling is great. 3 stars
7/14/04 The More You Know everytime it's about to induce a coma, it flashes skin w/ the hyperbare-it shots. 3 stars
7/08/04 fanboy malcolm i didn't get it. probly deserves a 2nd look. lotsa nudity is always good though. 2 stars
6/13/04 XTC Over-rated Hollywood crap. The sight of Charlotte Rampling naked made me sick. 2 stars
5/13/04 Lori makes most people who watch it feel stupid at the end. Id like to bitchslap the WRITER 2 stars
4/20/04 someone it sucks 1 stars
4/11/04 Wildcarde1 I had heard so much and was expecting something special, i never got it 2 stars
3/26/04 morgan hayes Glorious,the best film i've seen this year. 5 stars
3/24/04 William Greene Excellent movie 5 stars
3/19/04 Candice Heath didn't understand the end! 4 stars
3/17/04 lodger16 slow, snobbishly overclever 3 stars
2/18/04 TheRealDude Bullshit Bullshit Bullshit. The last 2 minutes ruin a good film. 2 stars
2/06/04 Mike Ennis I liked the film, I just wish the ending would have been a little more complete. 4 stars
1/26/04 twodogs It's a better than average indy movie. 3 stars
1/25/04 Jason Entertaining, interesting story, well written, and some very nice nude shots of sagnier 4 stars
1/14/04 Betty White Rampling is powerful and convincing in this lavish film. 5 stars
12/30/03 helen delicious 5 stars
12/28/03 y2mckay Don't think I can say it much better than Childress - though that Sagnier has fine titties 2 stars
11/25/03 The Dude Meandering, pompus. 2 stars
10/25/03 Richard M. Cooper This film provoked good discussions. 4 stars
10/20/03 Rebecca what a special movie; hot! 5 stars
10/13/03 Helen Bradley Great acting and script. 5 stars
9/08/03 Bill Teommey Would you bury the body in your own back yard? 1 stars
9/04/03 Darlene Groetz Deux zombies des baguette tragique qui assassinent et couvrent le crime. Fort bien! 1 stars
9/01/03 Carl Huber Messes with your mind, figuring out what is meant to be "real". 4 stars
9/01/03 whatever i didnt get it AT ALL!!! 1 stars
8/29/03 Elias Copularus see this movie 4 stars
8/25/03 Amanda and Jovan Intriguing and stimulating to the mind and erotic senses! 5 stars
8/25/03 Bill Geftman I dont get the ending. others who viewed this movie were also confused. 3 stars
8/21/03 Priscilla Postlethwaite Would-be who-dun-it in search of an it. 2 stars
8/20/03 Jin This film will raise your bp and open your mind. 5 stars
8/19/03 Wayne Provocative ending. Was Julie real or imagined? 4 stars
8/19/03 Suzanne Sexy, thought provoking 5 stars
8/18/03 Charlotte Voyeuristic, good summer puzzle but little real substance 3 stars
8/15/03 tk made me think and made me horny...what else would you want? 5 stars
8/12/03 Kelly Was Julie for real? Did John really have two daughters? 4 stars
8/12/03 shelley stults i feel asleep 3 stars
8/10/03 Varun Subtle, yet satisfying 4 stars
8/10/03 Bill Halsey I thought of David Lynch 5 stars
8/10/03 aimee auby the ending made me think 4 stars
8/08/03 UnkleTim I love when I am still thinking of a movie days after I have seen it. This is one . 4 stars
8/08/03 jc i liked it 4 stars
8/08/03 Holly Beach I agree w/Patrik; bring your brains; it's not about the "plot" 5 stars
8/06/03 Rebecca Keeshen Beautiful film; loved the performances 4 stars
8/05/03 Johann Lots of sex, lots of tension, but promises made that were never fulfilled. 4 stars
8/04/03 Ishkabibble Slow, dull and boring. Was there really a mystery in there? 1 stars
8/04/03 Winston Beautiful girl makes the movie HAPPEN. 5 stars
8/03/03 Alan A bit slow at times but worth it in the end 4 stars
8/02/03 JD Boudacious Tah-tahs 3 stars
8/02/03 Charles Nettles It's a hoax. 1 stars
7/29/03 amir I enjoyed the film immensly here in Washington, D.C. I am curious, who sings the disco "Do 5 stars
7/28/03 Jean Perrin Twists and turns, Hitchcockian in tone 4 stars
7/28/03 Patrik Americans are too dumb to understand what this movie is about..... 5 stars
7/28/03 c.g Not bad 4 stars
7/27/03 bama didn't like the "say wha?" ending - other than that - excellent 4 stars
7/26/03 Kirsty Excellent, definitely worth watching, not stupid Hollywood, makes you THINK 5 stars
7/26/03 Linda Puzzling but fun. see with friends & decipher over dinner! 4 stars
7/16/03 MC it was good. kinda show, but worth the plot twists. 4 stars
7/15/03 Emperor's New Clothes Pfft. The French think they are sooo witty. Creme Brulee for the eyes. I hate Creme Brulee. 2 stars
7/12/03 Andrew like memento, there are many ways of interpreting the ending. see it. 4 stars
7/10/03 Jesus Relaxed but also disturbing in a believable fashin. Camera work is great. 4 stars
7/07/03 amanda Trailer was promising, but the film was disappointing and confusing. Missed the mark. 2 stars
7/06/03 bernieK Luxuriously sensual, slow paced. A wonderful summer adult film when so little is available. 4 stars
7/06/03 Lisa intelligent, fun, will make you rethink the film over and over 5 stars
7/05/03 rue the whirl cinematic masturbation. bring hand lotion. hbs sucks, too...heehee 2 stars
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  02-Jul-2003 (R)
  DVD: 13-Jan-2004



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