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Swimming Pool (2003)

Charlotte RamplingCharles DanceLudivine SagnierJean-Marie Lamour
François Ozon


Swimming Pool (2003) is a English,French movie. François Ozon has directed this movie. Charlotte Rampling,Charles Dance,Ludivine Sagnier,Jean-Marie Lamour are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2003. Swimming Pool (2003) is considered one of the best Crime,Drama,Mystery,Thriller movie in India and around the world.

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.

Swimming Pool (2003) Reviews

  • Spoiler: Sarah is a woman, not a machine


    I saw the movie today. I think Sarah feels that everybody sees her as an object, not as a woman with sexual longings and desires. (You know, the same way we think of our parents or grandparents.) I don't think she ever had an affair with John. John simply seems as the only Male (sexual) Connection she has in her life. She gets jealous of the new writer, because he is flavour of the week with the publisher John. She craves for some attention, not as a money making machine, but as a WOMAN. She leaves for France, and tries to leave the mother-side of her womanhood behind (even if just for a little while) She finds it hard (because she still phones her father to see if he is all right, but only once in the beginning.) She doesn't want to be seen as a mother, but as a woman. She feels weird getting in touch with her sexual side. Our true selves always come out if there is no one watching over your shoulder, but there always is. That is why she removes the cross from the wall, because she feels uncomfortable going on this journey with God watching over her shoulder. She meets Marcel and Franck. She finds Franck attractive, but she is so used to the way that people see her and she actually sees herself, that she doesn't make a real effort to flirt with him. She forms this fantasy alter-ego named Julie. Julie is everything Sarah longs to be. Everyone sees her as an object of desire. Julie is the manifestation of the journey that Sarah is on. Julie is free and very in touch with all aspects of her sexuality. Many woman find it hard to get comfortable with certain aspects of sexuality, because they are brought up that only "bad girls" do certain things. Things like abortion, masturbation and oral sex are often things that woman battle with. Julie has scars that seems to have connotations to childbirth, but I think it is a visual way to lead the viewer to think of another element associated with "bad girls" namely abortion. Therefore, Julie is the one masturbating, having oral sex and maybe having abortions, not Sarah (but Sarah is in fact the one making peace with these (foreign) concepts. Julie attacks Sarah as a moral prude that is too scared to do the things she writes and thinks about. This is merely a personification of the battle raging within Sarah. Sarah and Julie then become friends, which shows that she is making peace with herself. The killing of Franck doesn't actually happen, it merely shows that she is reaching the end of her journey. She is now willing to do the things she writes, thinks and fantasize about. The burying of "dead Franck" symbolises the burial of the "old" Sarah. That is when she tries out the NEW Sarah on old man Marcel. He was about to dig up the "old" Sarah, and the "new" Sarah wouldn't let that happen. Also, he won't reject her, because he can't believe his luck. Julie gives her a book that her mother wrote. This just shows that the fantasy of Julie resulted in a new book, as well as a new chapter in Sarah's life. The viewer can clearly see a transformation in the way Sarah is presented. In the beginning she is stern and her clothing is very unflattering. She drinks whiskey early in the morning, even when the man at the bar is drinking coffee. She is more of a man than he is! During the movie you can clearly see that Sarah's clothing becomes more and more feminine. At the end she is dressed very pretty and ladylike. She goes to John and proposes her new book, but he shoots it down. However, Sarah now has the courage to offer herself to someone else who will look at her differently, since John makes it clear that he feels more comfortable seeing her as a money-making machine in stead of a sexual object. The waving at the end is simply a way of showing that Sarah does not need Julie anymore. Sarah now feels free enough to truly live as a multi facetted person. So Fantasy Julie never exists as a real person, neither does any of the men she has sex with. They simply personify emotional, sexual and spiritual concepts Sarah encounters on her journey to sexual freedom. She actually met the person named Franck, but he merely became part of her fantasy. John has a daughter named Julie, and her mother was probably killed in an accident. But the person Julie has nothing to do with fantasy Julie. Sarah resented John for not seeing her in a sexual way, and that lead to the creation of a persona that shared her resentment towards John's sexuality. Julie said he was the king of orgies. So he (John) will shag everyone, except lonely Sarah.

  • Anything but dull


    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 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.

  • a simple straightforward film


    I read the first 50 or 60 comments on this film and was quite surprised at the varying and extremely imaginative interpretations put forth. Any movie that can excite such speculation is valuable, regardless of whether or not it yields up Ultimate Truth. I am hesitant to offer my own comments because I'm sure that other people have already come up with this interpretation (I didn't read all 160 comments). But here goes anyway. Spoilers Ahead: For me the film is rather simple and straightforward--not simplistic, not shallow, but not the Jungian exercise that some have made it out to be either. Many people seem to feel that because John says in the beginning of the film that his daughter (Julia) is staying with him, that the other daughter (Julie) is a fantasy or projection of Sarah's inner life. I prefer to believe that both daughters are equally real. Julia is John's acknowledged daughter, while Julie is the product of an illicit affair, an outcast to whom he offers the use of his villa but not his name. At one point Sarah tells Julie that because of her father's "blood, sex and money" she has a beautiful house to live in. Julie just stares incredulously. Clearly, Julie is a burden to John, an object of guilt and scorn. He suffers her presence at the villa out of a sense of shame, not a sincere desire to help her. At the beginning of the film John probably thinks that Julie is working in another city (she says at one point that she just quit her job), so he doesn't warn Sarah of her impending arrival. Later he scolds Julie over the phone, warning her to leave Sarah alone. But Ozon doesn't allow Sarah to speak to John about Julie (John apparently hangs up or goes out). He doesn't want us to know too much at this stage of the film about Julie's exact relationship to John. The key figure, of course, is Marcel. Julie exhibits towards him a familiarity and playfulness (taking off his hat, for instance) that indicates they are much more than just acquaintances. When she is standing by the pool with Marcel and Bernard, she tells Bernard that Marcel is her father. Marcel quickly and nervously tells her to stop joking. Later, Marcel's dwarf daughter shrinks back in horror at the mention of Julie's mother and claims that she is dead, the victim of an accident. The only interpretation that can be placed on these events is the obvious one--John had an affair with Marcel's wife long ago, an affair that resulted in the birth of Julie. To assuage Marcel, John has given him a permanent job tending his estate. Reading the film this way makes the sequence between Sarah and Marcel late in the film (the seduction) more coherent. At this point, Sarah has gone from curious voyeur to concerned mother-figure to the actual incarnation of Julie's mother. She adopts the rejected daughter, protects her from prosecution after the murder, and later appropriates the contents of the book which are seemingly Julie's one tangible link with her biological mother. Now she will sleep with the man with whom she once shared her bed before the affair with John. Now she will attempt to heal the horrible past. Is Julie's mother living in Nice or is she really dead? And if she's dead, was there foul play or suicide involved? The film doesn't supply a clear answer to these questions. I reject the dream explanation because there is no use of the camera or music or editing, no stylization of any kind, to indicate a breach in objective reality and an entry into Sarah's subjective experience. Or at least none before the last scene, when the two Julies are both intercut into the same physical space. I feel that this last touch is a kind of summing up of the themes of the entire film. It may or may not be happening in Sarah's mind at the time, but it is a neat way for the director to make a comment on how we sometimes try to bury the past and how we can only heal ourselves by allowing the past to co-exist with the present. Of course there are a lot of red herrings in the film--the swimming pool, the opening shot of the Thames, the scar on the stomach that seem to invite "deeper" interpretations. And those interpretations are valid and add to the fascination of the film. I'm sure that the director was having a lot of fun, overlaying his straightforward detective yarn with a smorgasbord of Jungian symbols and female identity issues. Great, great acting. Charlotte Rampling--just magnificent. My god, what a beautiful woman and what an expressive face. And Luduvine--she is great too. I saw her in "Hot Drops on Burning Rocks" where she looked like a 12-year old with silicone implants (a disquieting image). Now she is growing into her sensuality and becoming a truly remarkable actress who can can go from hardened cynicism to poignant vulnerability in the shrug of an eyebrow. I would recommend this film to anyone who loves foreign films. If you enjoyed this, you should watch "La Ceremonie" by Claude Chabrol based on a novella by Ruth Rendell.

  • Well made and literate.


    Swimming Pool contained good symbolism, acting, and especially great cinematography. The movie was really too slow for me for the first 70 mintues, however, and I kept wondering, what is the point of painting us a pictures of this dour and unhappy author's interactions with a lustful irresponsible bratty young woman? Although I admired the character portrayal and felt the movie visually artistic and even brilliant at times, I was not emotionally invested in Sarah Morton enough nor in Julie's to care. However, the ending changed all of that. *** SPOILERS BELOW!*** The twist at the end reminded me of Fight Club and and Sixth Sense, where all of a sudden the viewer realizes he percieved everything through the wrong lens. When the twist reveals that the Julie we've seen never existed, all of a sudden everything in the story takes a deeper meaning and we can appreciate all the time it took to create a detailed character study of Sarah Morton. I really enjoyed how literate this movie was, the symbolism very well constructed. It's funny how people either critisize or praise all the nudity and sexuality common in European film, however here nudity and sexuality were intrinsically necessary because they were such a crucial component underlying the mechanics of Sarah Morton's personality. She was so repressed! I really liked how Julie's appetite for sex, rich food, and swimming in the "dirty" pool was a mirror for just how badly Sarah lacked all of these things. I especially loved the scenes where Sarah eats yogurt and wheat germ. Here we have a woman, who although she is super wealthy and can afford any type of food, instead chooses to deprieve herself of such a basic source of pleasure as eating appetizing food. It is a nice contradiction that Sarah is very wealthy on the outside yet starving (for good food, sexuality, a zest for living, creativity) on the inside. This movie further gives evidence to the fact that fame and wealth are not a guarantee of genuine happiness in life. The ending to this film made it all worthwhile, however and it is very exciting when we feel we need a 2nd viewing of a movie to really absorb it all. I will watch it again and who knows? I might not find the first 70 minutes too slow after all.

  • Clever movie that does not reveal itself until at least 15 or 20 minutes after it is over.


    Our neighbor Donna has a knack for buying offbeat DVDs, and 'Swimming Pool' is one of the more. She asked us to see it, and explain it to her. Charlotte Rampling plays the central character of Sarah Morton, a writer who seeks new inspiration at her publisher's vacation home in the south of France. All is well and quiet until Julie (pretty and nubile Ludivine Sagnier) shows up, claiming to be the daughter that Sarah's publisher failed to mention. Sarah and Julie are like fire and ice, oil and water, acid and caustic. Everything that Julie is, carefree, bold, and over sexed, Sarah isn't. Then, what we see developing is Sarah using Julie as the inspiration for her writing. Sarah begins to encourage Julie. And Julie provides much inspiration! This isn't a movie for those put off by nudity or the French habits of liberal sleeping around. But for those who like a clever and absorbing story, that will tingle your brain cells when it is over, having you asking "What exactly happened?" , then you will probably enjoy this one. SPOILERS follow, quit reading if you have not seen 'Swimming Pool.' As the story progresses, Sarah gets less annoyed with Julie's bratty and loose behavior, and actually seems to be inspired to experiment a bit too. Things turn sinister when Julie is putting off the night time poolside advances of one of the men she brought home, and ends up murdering him. Instead of admonishing Julie, Sarah helps her dispose of the body. The next day, when the village-dwelling gardener shows up, threatening to discover the deed, Sarah offers misdirection by stripping and inviting the old gentleman to her room for sex. BIGGEST SPOILER -- when Sarah gets back to London, her publisher's offices, meets 'Julia', the young daughter who looks and acts nothing like 'Julie' of the movie. My best interpretation, which is also based on comments by writer/director Ozon, is the 'movie' in France was in the imagination of Sarah, starting when she opened her window at night, and which was actually the book she was writing. As the movie ends in London, Sarah shows her publisher John the manuscript for 'Swimming Pool', which he doesn't like. Then she gives him a copy of the published book, telling him he knew he wouldn't like it, because it was a parody of him, and had someone else publish it. Update: Saw it again January 2011 and it is a great movie to re-watch.

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