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Swimming Pool (2003)

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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.

Director:

François Ozon

Writers:

François Ozon (screenplay), Emmanuèle Bernheim | 1 more credit »
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4,740 ( 284)
2 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlotte Rampling ... Sarah Morton
Ludivine Sagnier ... Julie
Charles Dance ... John Bosload
Jean-Marie Lamour Jean-Marie Lamour ... Franck
Marc Fayolle Marc Fayolle ... Marcel
Mireille Mossé Mireille Mossé ... Marcel's Daughter
Michel Fau ... First Man
Jean-Claude Lecas Jean-Claude Lecas ... Second Man
Emilie Gavois-Kahn Emilie Gavois-Kahn ... Waitress at Cafe (as Emilie Gavois Kahn)
Erarde Forestali Erarde Forestali ... Old Man
Lauren Farrow Lauren Farrow ... Julia
Sebastian Harcombe Sebastian Harcombe ... Terry Long
Frances Cuka ... Lady on the Underground
Keith Yeates Keith Yeates ... Sarah's Father
Tricia Aileen Tricia Aileen ... John Bosload's Secretary
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Storyline

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 unhurried pace is just the tonic for her--until late one night, when John's indolent and insouciant French daughter Julie unexpectedly arrives. Sarah's prim and steely English reserve is jarred by Julie's reckless, sexually charged lifestyle. Their interactions set off an increasingly unsettling series of events, as Sarah's creative process and a possible real-life murder begin to blend dangerously together. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

On the surface, all is calm. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language, some violence and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | UK

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

1 August 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La piscina See more »

Filming Locations:

France See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$1,585,109 (France), 23 May 2003

Opening Weekend USA:

$286,950, 6 July 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$10,105,505, 12 October 2003

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,372,390, 7 November 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Charlotte Rampling and Frances Cuka previously appeared together as wives of Henry VIII Anne Boleyn and Catherine of Aragon respectively , in the movie of the same name. See more »

Goofs

When Sarah is shown typing at her laptop, she is clearly pressing the keys at random and sometimes several at once. See more »

Quotes

Julie: I'm so tired!
Sarah Morton: Not surprised. It's tiring to kill a man.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The U.S. release is available in two forms: the unrated version and the "R" rated version. The unrated version contains full frontal nudity which was edited out of the "R" rated version to avoid an "NC-17" rating. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Semi-Pro (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Mirror Ball ('Let's do it')
(Steve Everitt)
Ref. Disque ATMOS 126
With grateful permission from KOKA MEDIA
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Alluring and Deceptive, Beautifully Spare, Sometimes Slow
18 July 2009 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Swimming Pool (2003)

All I had heard before recently viewing Francois Ozon's Swimming Pool is that the lead actress, Ludivine Sagnier, was searingly sexy. Well, if that's what you want in a movie, you might agree. But it lowered my expectations, nearly to the point of not watching it. In the end, Sagnier's character is mostly coy and bratty, and her nudity, in France around her own very private swimming pool, shouldn't really be an issue-- except maybe for the viewer. For me, there was sometimes a mismatch in my head between watching the actress and watching the character, and if this is a flaw in some movies, here, in some basic way, it ties into the intention.

This is an odd starting point, for sure, but it is Sagnier's brazen outwardness that makes the more complex role played by Charlotte Rampling take on interest. How else to portray the theme of a woman who uses her body and her confidence to seduce the other characters in front of an older woman who wishes she could do the same? Swimming Pool really isn't about sex, but it absolutely is about the appearances that lead to sex--of being sexy, to put it a little stupidly--and Rampling increasingly takes on the role of viewer within her own character, and she ends up as perplexed as we do. All to good effect.

The minimal plot is about the failure by a successful novelist to see alluring from allusion, fact from fantasy. It's about storytelling, fiction, and ultimately fear of failure. The reconstruction of the past becomes the inner confusion in the mind of the main character, a charming and effective Rampling playing a novelist who was once, by all the hints, the very seductress suggested by the younger woman.

This is certainly a film worth watching. For some it will seem willfully confusing to the point of manipulation--the viewer is fooled and taken for a ride, and it feels confusing for the sake of confusion. For others it will seem endlessly mysterious and clever, even if requiring a kind of blindness to certain narrative conflicts (which may or may not be logically resolved by the end--I watched parts a second time to check). Right from the start there is an ingenious mismatch of facts that you start to brush off, and when things develop in ways I don't dare suggest for fear of ruining it, these clues grow in meaning. It will certainly be great for discussion, heated or not, and that's a sign (for me) of a good experience, though not necessarily a superior movie.

It is notable how economical the filming is--the setting is limited, the characters few, the range of situations reasonable and not requiring trickery or effects. And it comes down to Rampling, above all, holding the psychology together. It shows how little you need to take a good plot idea and flesh it out, sexist voyeurism or not.


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