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Swimming Pool (2003) online

Swimming Pool (2003) online
Original Title :
Swimming Pool
Genre :
Movie / Crime / Drama / Mystery / Thriller
Year :
Directror :
François Ozon
Cast :
Charlotte Rampling,Charles Dance,Ludivine Sagnier
Writer :
François Ozon,Emmanuèle Bernheim
Type :
Time :
1h 42min
Rating :

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 (2003) online

Watch online full movie for free. Watch online full movie: Swimming Pool (2003) for free. 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. 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 a 2003 erotic thriller film directed by François Ozon and starring Charlotte Rampling and Ludivine Sagnier. However, the arrival of Julie, who claims to be the publisher's daughter, induces complications and a subsequent crime.

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9movies - Watch Swimming Pool (2003) online full for free on 9movies. 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. 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 9movies - watch Swimming Pool (2003) online free in Full HD 1080p.

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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.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlotte Rampling Charlotte Rampling - Sarah Morton
Ludivine Sagnier Ludivine Sagnier - Julie
Charles Dance 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 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 Frances Cuka - Lady on the Underground
Keith Yeates Keith Yeates - Sarah's Father
Tricia Aileen Tricia Aileen - John Bosload's Secretary

Charlotte Rampling's character Sarah is named after her sister, who killed herself at age 23. She told The Guardian, "I thought that after such a very long time of not letting her be with me that I would like to bring her back into my life."

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.

User reviews

Swift Summer

Swift Summer

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Makers of erotic thrillers need to be careful, as that is a genre that, if not handled carefully, can quickly fall prey to silliness and excess (think "Fatal Attraction"). "Swimming Pool" is a thriller in the style of "The Deep End," and more than once I was struck by similarities between the two in their respective tones and reliance on water as a recurring visual motif. Also, both films have a middle-aged female as the protagonist who becomes involved in covering up for the actions of a child (in "The Deep End" a literal child, in "Swimming Pool" a figurative one). Also, both films are completely unpredictable. Neither goes the direction in which the viewer thinks it's going to. However, "Swimming Pool" is much more abstract, and its ending leaves you wanting to watch the whole thing over immediately with an entirely different perspective on the action. This gimmick always makes for a memorable ending in movies that employ it, but too often it makes the rest of the movie seem somewhat pale in comparison, and this is the case here. "Swimming Pool" plays tricks with your perceptions, but the finale to which the film builds seems somewhat anti-climactic when it finally comes.

It's a leisurely paced film, and you'll need to have patience with it. You'll also need to have patience with the main character, played by Charlotte Rampling. Rampling gives a fine performance, but her character is really unlikable (intentionally so), and it's always a liability for any story that focuses almost solely on one person to make that person unlikable, or at least sympathetic.

"Swimming Pool," though billed as an erotic thriller, is really about the creative process (I think), and I won't say anymore about that because to do so will give away the ending. It's an interesting idea, imperfectly executed.

Grade: B


... Ozon lets us see his characters directly; and then through the mind of Charlotte Rampling's (as author) character. Two strands apply - the direct-to-Ozon's mind, and the indirect, via Rampling. And there the fun begins. We glimpse a gawky, immature, teeth-in-bands teenager (blonde) towards the end of the movie - Morton (the publisher's) daughter. But who has this blonde (Ludivine Sagnier) - who has she been? And how did she get to be in the house/novel/movie at all? Well now, let me see ... we learn at the beginning that Morton's daughter might well drop-in on the writer - as she is only borrowing Morton's house in the Luberon area of Provence. We 'accept' an idea of the incumbent blonde in all probability as that spoken of daughter. But she seems like a 15-year-old going on 35!!! She has an amazing amount of baggage for such a seemingly young girl. And she gets into such torrid, bizarre, and ghastly gargantuan fixes - all seem too improbable. The mix-and-match mode - as strand crosses strand, weaving a rich texture of reality versus illusion, fiction versus fact, and dream versus daylight - the enjoyment being in the management (in each viewer's mind) of the strands, understanding when the author's fiction is being played-out across the screen; and when we are back again inside the movie-director's mind (as opposed to one of his character's i.e the novelist). The local people encountered in the Luberon quickly become assimilated into Rampling's novel - their more outmodish acts being inventions of the novelist's mind (but being re-played inside an Ozon movie). And characters we might think are kith and kin of the 'real' people we encounter, are in fact nothing but kin to the fine imaginings of the typing hand. Ludivine Sagnier being the case in point - and she a cruel joke against Morton's dismissive inattentions towards our writerly heroine. The gawky, tooth-banded teenager has, in all likelihood, been in Provence all along - and in the projection of the novelist's mind - fashioned into a femme-fatale that makes the LuDIVINE we see on our screens, (and as the central protagonist of the Rampling novel, were it at hand to be read)!


The Sara Morton character is sick and tired of writing her stock-in-trade serial books, and wishes for inspiration for something NEW. She says so to her publisher, who wants to keep her writing them, and offers her a stay at his French villa for a rest and change of scenery.

Sara goes to the villa. We then see several scenes of just how much she enjoys the solitude, the sun, the quiet, the food. She breathes in deeply that fresh air, so different from the London cloudy skies, nameless crowds in the subways etc. that she came from. *** The sensuality of the landscape, the climate, even the pool, put her in a frame of mind different from the bored, fatigued frame of mind she had in London.*** (This is the key to the movie).

And, so, inspiration to write something a bit different does come: She starts writing another book, combining bits and pieces of given facts and given characters: The daughter that her publisher mentioned, appears in her manuscript as "Julie". All her attributes and behavior come from Sara's inspiration-"Julie" never actually comes to the villa. The rest is just how the book develops-and since she is an experienced writer of murder mysteries, a murder is written in too. She finishes the book, gets it published by a new publisher, takes it to her old publisher as an "I'll show you!", and this is where we see that she has never really met the daughter: A young girl with braces walks in, not recognizing Sara. That is the real-life daughter.

One scene that is quite telling of where reality stops and her inspiration starts is that of Franck-the local waiter, cleaning leaves from the pool with the net, wearing a tiny bathing suit, before he stands over the sunbathing, sleeping "Julie". The camera goes slowly over his body and his obvious arousal, in close-up-not the way he could be seen from where Sara was standing, looking out at the pool. That is BEFORE he is shown arriving at the villa with "Julie".

Well, the waiter is initially shown briefly serving Sara a drink in the village, and that's all he does. He doesn't work at the villa cleaning the pool-that is old Marcel's job. There is no other explanation about Franck suddenly being at the villa cleaning the pool, other than "that's how Sara wove the local waiter into her book".


This film owes a great deal of gratitude to the second collaboration between Francois Ozon and his leading lady, Charlotte Rampling. They ought to team up more.

As with the previous film, Under the Sand, this is an enigmatic piece of cinema. This film, I believe, has more to do with Sarah Morton's imagination than with the actual story presented to us. There are so many hidden clues within the story that everyone will have a different take in what is presented in the film and what the actual reality is.

Francois Ozon is not a boring director. He will always present an interesting story, fully developed, with many twists to get his viewer into going in different directions trying to interpret it all.

Charlotte Rampling is magnificent as Sarah Morton, the repressed author of mystery novels. Ludivine Sagnier is very good as the mysterious Julie, the alleged daughter of Sarah's publisher, but now, is she really that person?

The ending will baffle the viewer. This is a film that will stay and haunt one's mind for days.


First of all: I like this type of film very much! I was surprised by many comments that talk about a 'foreign film'. As if films from other countries than the USA should have to prove themselves extra... No way! On the contrary! Living in Europe, this isn't a foreign film for me! I was brought up in the sixties, and enjoyed the film-noir genre, the character movies, the French and Italian philosophical movies, the black-and-white films, the films made by the actors, the director and the plot together. So, Swimming Pool is a film that makes me sit on the point of my chair for more than 1 hour and a half. It is an intriguing story, the entire atmosphere is inviting, makes you feel good and being with Sarah/Charlotte all at once. The interference with Sarah and Julie is ambiguous. The continuing layer of lesbian love lays upon their relation, no matter what they do to each other in the beginning of the story. It's a kind of hidden suspense... Ludivine (who plays Julie) is a beautiful, well shaped young girl, with a marvelous body, but even Charlotte Rampling is outspoken and gave herself to the film and to the director, Francois Ozon. A great movie. Just absorb what you see...


I first saw this film on HBO in 2005 and now own it. HBO and others continue to run it. It is a very mature, engrossing film with a metaphorical plot. From the opening credits it immediately begs for your attention and once it has you in its grasp, you will find you cannot escape. A successful author of a series of mystery novels but bored with her work, Charlotte Rampling goes to the south of France for looking for fresh ideas for a new book, begins down one avenue and then changes direction. The location, photography and performances are exceptional as is the set design, replete with elegant simplicity that flows past your eyes. You are drawn in so well you can taste the wine and feel the pool's water flowing around you. The actors, especially Rampling and the actress who plays Julie, are impeccable. The Swimming Pool is a totally wonderful experience. Dive in!


I first saw the trailer for this film at Fredddy vs. Jason back in '03 and me and my friend were in hysterics at how lame it looked. He recently bought me the film on DVD as a 'joke' birthday present but ironically now sits proudly on my DVD shelf as one of my favourite films.

Although very slow moving it is beautifully shot and the soundtrack is fantastic. The characters are brilliant and the acting is flawless. It gets more complex in the second half and is quite difficult to understand the twists in the plot. It draws you in right from the very start and doesn't let you go until the end.


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.


You can see at the end that it is actually the one person who is seeing herself in two roles while she is in France - one as a nymphomaniac, fun-loving, rebellious girl that she has lost and the other, stronger personality of a frustrated, rejected, bitter woman. By the end of the movie, she has rediscovered herself as a combination of these two parts and can move on from her lover/publisher, one that will never leave his family, and start fresh as a whole woman. I think the symbolism of the murdered man is killing the man that likes the stronger personality, but cannot resist the temptation of a younger girl - just like her editor lover who cannot leave his wife but will indulge in side affairs. Killing him is getting rid of him from her life and allowing her to move on - which she does at the end when she moves to a new publisher. The daughter allowing her to write the mother's book is her giving herself permission to write about her own pain and rejection. This all comes together at the end when you meet the real daughter - the symbolism still keeps me thinking of each scene and what it actually meant.


I do not agree with the majority that the filmmaker intended the protagonist's stay at the house to be a creative hallucination. I think that there are enough narrative details to work out the whole thing. My view is that the girl who appears at the house -- Julie -- is the publisher's daughter, and that the girl who appears at the end of the movie in the publisher's office -- Julia -- is the child that he had with Julie (and therefore his daughter/ granddaughter). In other words, the publisher raped his daughter Julie, and the child they had is Julia. I took the point of the final sequence to be the writer's noting the similarity between mother and child.

Julie displays classic symptoms of having been sexually abused as a child by her father. First, she is a nymphomaniac with a penchant for older men (she is repeating the traumatic event). Second, she experiences a complete fugue when she hysterically identifies the protagonist as her mother and fears that she had abandoned her (the way her real mother abandoned her and allowed her to be raped by her father.) Third, Julie makes numerous references to the sexually predatory nature of her father: "He's the king of the orgies"; "you're his latest conquest"; and her introducing one of her older lovers to Marcel as "her father." Fourth, the murder of the waiter is what she has wanted to do to her father (and to all men), and it occurs when she has cast the writer as her mother and therefore returned to the dynamics of her rape.

Further bits of narrative emerge when, at their dinner, Julie tells the writer that her first sexual experience was at 13. I think this experience was her rape by the publisher. It's not stated how old Julie is, but, assuming she's in her mid-twenties, the girl Julia at the end could certainly be her daughter if she had her at 13. I think that Marcel's daughter's stating nervously that Julie's mother's death was an "accident" suggests that, distraught over the publisher's rape of her daughter, she killed herself. The large stomach scar is the Cesarean section by which the incestuous child Julia was born.

The novel that the protagonist writes is the story of this incestuous rape. The detective writer has found her biggest mystery yet -- a family mystery, and her publisher is the villain. This is why he tries to undermine her confidence about the book and suggests that it shouldn't be published. If it were, then the story of his incestuous villainy would be known.

The way the protagonist smiles so warmly at Julia when she sees her at the office is meant to display her warmly realizing how she resembles her mother Julie in some ways (although much younger and not yet sexualized.) And the final scene of the waving is meant to further identify the mother with her child.

In this way, the movie employs the same family secret as "Chinatown."


In London, the successful and weird middle-age writer of police and mystery novels Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling) is passing through a phase of lack of inspiration. Her publisher John Bosload (Charles Dance) invites her to spend some summertime days in his house in a small town in France, where there is inclusive a swimming pool. He also suggests her to make the experience of writing about a different theme. Sarah accepts the invitation and travels to the wonderful and lonely place. A few days later, she starts writing again, but her quiet rest is shaken with the unexpected arrival of Julie (Ludivine Sagnier), the sexy daughter of John. From that moment on, reality and dream blends in Sarah's world. I did not dislike this movie, but I believe it is indeed an excellent idea, wasted in a very disappointing conclusion. There are many unexplained subplots and the story is completely open to the most different interpretations, and of course I have mine. But without reading any information or clue from the writer and director François Ozon about his real intention, it is impossible to give a precise clarification. Europeans usually like this type of story, but in this situation, the film does not give necessary hints about the real intention of the plot, and the viewer can speculate only. Charlotte Rampling has a magnificent interpretation, Ludivine Sagnier has a very erotic performance, but to become an excellent film, many clarifications are missing. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): `Swimming Pool: À Beira da Piscina' (`Swimming Pool: On the Edge of the Swimming Pool')


If you've had enough gasoline explosions, car chases, and bang-yer-head obvious plots, here is something Completely Different.

I'm assuming you've seen the movie so if you haven't, please read no further.

Anyone who has written a fiction book all the way through (I've finished several) will recognize the writing process as embodied masterfully in this film. That is, being inspired by the oddest and most nondescript objects. Or writing entire chapters and realizing they're crap and don't fit in. Or just the opposite: finishing your story and realizing at the "end" you forgot something critical and need to go rewrite part of it...sometimes a BIG part of it. AND the tremendous satisfaction when you realize you've created something that a) was inside you that just had to come out and b) is the best work you can do and c) others will enjoy reading.

This film is complex enough that there are undoubtedly many interpretations possible. The one I find personally fulfilling, and that fits perfectly with the final twist, is a wonderfully-executed attempt to bring the abstract, weird, and sometimes outright bizarre process of fiction writing to the screen. From INSIDE the author's mind. I've only seen the movie once, but I can't remember a single scene without Sarah in it. This film was about her exclusively, from her POV, about what was going on in her mind...ultimately the creative process of writing. There were other characters, but with very few exceptions they existed as HER characters, walking the stage she created.

A simple example. Franck started as a minor character, a waiter at an outdoor café. As often happens during the writing process, his importance changes. In fact, it was the pool scene with him standing over Julie that first convinced me I was watching a depiction of the writing process. You see, the concept of Franck becoming involved with Julie was a plot possibility, a concept, an idea that became stillborn. AT THAT TIME Sarah discarded it, not wanting to take that plot path. Later, when Sarah had visited the café several times and become more familiar with Franck (real or not, it doesn't matter) she realized he could become a more important character in her story by having Julie bring him into the plot via a more fully-developed twist. And so on.

To those who thought this movie was one strange and convoluted puppy, I'll say that fiction writing is one strange and convoluted process! It's captured as well as I can imagine in this effort.

A previous reviewer perfectly interpreted the smile on Sarah's face in the last scene at John's office -- one of an author's satisfaction and pride on a job well done.

At the very end, Sarah waves to her two creations, not goodbye, but in thanks. Authors are always grateful to their characters wherever they may come from, since without them there can be no story.


Okay, I hate to give so much away but after watching the film, there's no other way to review in a way that it would make sense to the people reading the review other than to tell it like it is. Nothing is real except for Charlotte Rampling's character and her publisher. The daughter character is also real but you don't see the real person until the end of the film. When Charlotte goes on the vacation to the French countryside to clear her head, she actually enters into the world of the characters she is about to write about in her new book. The daughter, the gardener, the guy at the café are all characters in her book and she is living vicariously through them and their lives. That said, this was a very bold film. The soft porn elements were very strong but the acting on the part of Charlotte Rampling was stronger. She is a great actress of her generation and should be celebrated for such a powerful performance. I applaud her for her nude scenes and her honest portrayal of a character we see too less of in Hollywood, the sexy older woman who is not threatened by us young-ins! The film is about imagination and how the author uses it to solve her real life issues. My favourite line from the film is when Charlotte says: "Hmph! awards are like hemorrhoids, sooner or later, every arse gets them" LMAO! Classic!


A successful crime fiction author, Sarah, is suffering from writer's block and needing solitude and a change of scene her publisher suggests she take a spring break in his holiday house in the Luberon part of France, which she does and it seems to be working. Then the publisher's sexpot daughter, Julie, shows up unexpectedly and Sarah finds her presence, let alone pertness and promiscuity, a major irritation. To this point it is all perfectly believable, but then things start to become a little strange and, from a script point of view, rather ad hoc. For example, no explanation is given for Sarah finding one of Julie's bikini bottoms in the garden and why it should result in Sarah rummaging through Julie's belongings. The murder seems clumsy and pointless (and would leave a lot more evidence at the scene than that shown) and the disposal of the body rather pedestrian (not that more inventive methods in real life have prevented detection). The ambiguity presented at the end is designed to make us ponder whether it all really happened or was just a real-time fantasy with the eponymously titled book the result, unfortunately it rather draws attention to the script's shortcomings instead. On the plus side, the casting is good, it is nicely filmed and edited, the location is very pleasant and those who like the poster shouldn't be disappointed.


I just wasted 2 hours of my time watching this horrible movie and then coming on here to see people's opinions on what the darn thing even meant. I like a movie with twists and turns, but if it is one that NOBODY can really agree on what those twists and turns are then I think it is a bit too vague! If you like a movie that leaves you with all kinds of unanswered questions then this movie is for you. If not then don't waste your time like I did. Definitely one of the worst movies I've seen lately. I consider this to be a big F-! (aka BOMB!) Script is horrible, nudity is horrible, plot is horrible. The only thing that was okay about this movie was the acting. I feel sorry for anyone that rents it or tries to sit through it. If you try it...one piece of advice...use the fast forward button!!!!


"Swimming Pool" focuses on Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling), a British crime novelist who takes a vacation at her publisher's luxurious summer house in a small villa in Southern France to unwind and write her next book, which she seeks to aim in a different direction from her standard crime stories. Unfortunately for Sarah, after only a few days in the house, she is invaded by her publisher's troubled adult daughter who comes to stay there unannounced; what ensues is a rise in tension between the two, and a potential murder mystery that begins to unravel.

Francois Ozon's dreamy thriller is not for the fast-paced crowd; it's a consciously slow film, meandering through a seemingly straightforward narrative that turns everything the audience knows (or thinks they know) on its head. Some have complained that nothing "happens" in the film, which is ridiculous; plenty happens. A lot of it is rather mundane, yes, but what's happening behind the mundane and the way in which Ozon crafts this layering is what's special about this film.

Charlotte Rampling's performance as the stern and sexually frustrated writer is rich and impressive, and Ludivine Sagnier rises to the challenge, playing the damaged and troublesome young daughter of her publisher in a way that is both irritating and mysterious. The quality of these performances is vital to the success of the film, as the narrative progression (and unraveling) hinges entirely on their interactions, and both actresses deliver with a unique and appropriate chemistry.

It's an ambiguous film that leaves a lot of loose ends, although, unlike some suggest, it does point to a clear conclusion. No less, the ninety minutes that precede the finale of the film are puzzling and haunting in spite of the apparent lack of anything frightening or wildly unusual. The possibility of Sarah's paranoia and mental state are worked into this, and her reliability as a narrator lends the film even more layers to sift through, but that's where its charm lies. The perhaps ordinary reckless teenage antics of Julie are framed by Ozone as disturbed and dangerous, and her intentions consistently laden with potential ulterior motives. The dreamy cinematography and lush filming locations add a thick atmosphere that makes this already bizarre film a complete treat for anyone who enjoys off-kilter cinema.

"Swimming Pool" is a film whose strength lies in everything that's unsaid, and this unusual dynamic is accentuated by solid performances and a finely-tuned script with a surprising and yet not-so-surprising conclusion. It's a film that relies on nuance and strangeness to propel it to its conclusion, but it's up to the viewer to decide what ultimately is more important— the truth, or the pretense that preceded it. 9/10.


In The Draughtsman's Contract, Greenaway's sardonic masterpiece, a sketch artist discovers that in capturing the image, hidden narrative intrudes that is mischievous and costs him his 'sight'. Three Crowns of a Sailor - exquisitely imagined by the recently departed Raoul Ruiz - sees a sailor recounting stories to a young student that become more strange as we sail with them, the beauty all in the voyage of shared adventure. Tarkovsky's Zerkalo above all; the whole film a hazy swim in half-remembered glimpses from a filmmaker's life in images.

These are some of the best films I know on what this is all about; the mind running life as a story that permits recovering inner balance in a world of stories, our world. It all goes back to film noir and Kane.

Look here. She is a middle-aged writer of very popular detective fiction, this was the forerunner of noir in the 30's. The point in that mode was that Holmes trumps chaos through masterstrokes of logic. But real life doesn't work that way, the internal life of dreams and intuition that we can barely make known to ourselves. Logic comes short, it just does.

We have two books here, both written by women, both mistresses, both trying to commit inner turmoil to words.

We understand that when she's going away to France to write her next installment, she's emotionally troubled, frustrated with her writing, confused with expectations of love and commitment.

There, she discovers a brazen young girl who is open about all the things she keeps locked, open about sex and her body, about shared life that is exciting and dangerous. The moment she arrives, she takes the cover of the swimming pool to reveal azure waters below.

So from at least the halfway point, we're meant to not be quite sure how far or close we're floating from the surface of reality, remember she's writing a story. How deep we swim into one or the other woman. There is a very dreamy shot like out of a perfume ad where the camera tracks over female curves sunbathing next to it, languid, promiscuous invitation. Is it purely sexual? Does sex unlock connection that she dreams about?

Eventually, there's a crime involved, and she does all that snooping around that she knows from writing about it.

When we surface back to London, we realize the girl was only the source of inspiration, the tip of the thread that leads inwards.

So a writer has written herself inside a fiction where she can safely swim to the edges of anxiety about sex and sharing that troubles her in waking life, that is innermost self disguised as a crime novel but requires reading of layers to uncover, and allows her to finally know, when the man reads and discards it as 'not herself', demanding more of the predictable fiction that makes money, that this is not the man for her and is not worth the hassle and waiting. He simply didn't 'get' her, meaning he never knew her at at all beyond some part that fit into his schemes.

It is not terribly original, a little safe if you consider advances of all those people, but there is beauty in the sparse arrangement, in the sense of a fluent reality that runs through the fingers the moment you dip into it.


Metaphor in cinema is a synonym of artistry; of poetry. But is everything that tries to be metaphoric art (or poetry)? Through this movie I couldn't tell. Because I have been deceived with a sometimes repetitive and simple plot that sometimes tries to be more than what it is. I don't know if I had to get the deeper meaning of things, but if I had to, I didn't have a reason to do that.

Charlotte Rampling plays Sarah Morton, a contradictory character. She is a writer, and when she is in a subway, and an old woman (a fan) recognizes her, she says: "I'm sorry, I'm not the person you say I am". Who would do this? Maybe a woman who is trapped or tired of doing what she is doing. I can understand that part of the character, which I will explain later, in my effort for the explanation of this film.

John Bosload (Charles Dance), Sarah's editor, is waiting for her next book, so: Why not send Sarah to his house in France, so she can write? Maybe she needs a time alone, and maybe François Ozon needs a plot. We understand it, when she arrives at the house. She is trying to work and looks the scenery from the window. Looks down, and sees a squared construction covered with nylon: it's the (I'm sorry, a) swimming pool. Now he's got something, and after thirty minutes, we too.

Now Sarah is having a good time, writing some pages and constantly looking outside the window, as if she was waiting for someone. That someone is Julie, John's daughter. Sarah's routine won't change, although she will be intrigued by Julie's routine. The movie tries to make a connection between them. Sarah needs to work, and Julie is bringing people to the house. "You're disturbing me, I can't work", she tells Julie. But is the other way round, and this is the connection the movie is establishing between them. Sarah is not working because she's interested in watching Julie's life (which includes having sex with a different guy in the couch or the bed every night and doing oral sex in the swimming pool), which will eventually inspire Sarah's work. At that point we know what Sarah will write, and what will be the title of her novel.

About the use of sex in the film, I will only say that it serves to the creativity of the director, to show the "poetry", or "artistry". I recently saw "Carne Trémula", the sex scenes served the story and were filmed with the carefulness they needed (I though of it as art, yes). The sex scenes in "Swimming pool" are rough, probably because they have to be, but they have no other purpose than showing people nude. So they invent little things that end up in a sex scene, and it doesn't work. I know, it probably has to be with Julie's character and all she has lived, so she does these things because of her feelings; but that's not understandable either. About Sarah's character, well, she is trapped, and her connection with Julie will help her liberate. Julie will wake up her sexual feelings (and that's shown in the movie) and her best writing, to change the one she's tired of doing.

You will see other things happening, and you'll decide if those are interesting or not. Then there's one of those metaphors; I didn't get it. I'm sure many critics must have praised this piece as the masterpiece I'm saying it tries to be.

It wasn't poetry for me. It wasn't art.


This film is beautifully staged and acted, with some good dramatic tension and lovely scenery. Unfortunately, the payoff falls a little flat. It's kind of like a really long joke with a punchline that's not quite funny enough to justify having sat through the telling.


You really don't want to read this unless you have seen it.

I'm attracted to this specific sort of thing, a deal where what you see is conflated with its own generation, with the writer in the thing.

Its elaborated here by two devices. One is that you don't discover until the very last few minutes that anything like this is up, forcing you to retrospectively go back and reinvent.

Secondly, when you do, you discover a rather complex portrait of a woman.

That first. What we have is a woman alone. She's had an affair with her publisher, which probably resulted in her success as a mystery writer. At least initially. She's been pregnant by him and had a late abortion. It was a girl. Now she is menopausal, alone and in a terminal rut with her silly detective series. She's lost her faith.

He is already courting new talent and brushes her off, sending her to his house in France, the house she would own as his wife had he stuck with his promise. She feels like a tramp now. So what we see are her lost and losing selves embodied in an extremely promiscuous girl. She's "the daughter," and brings home a different guy each night, all repellent except the one man who is attractive and charming. But he rebuffs her, so she kills him. And to protect THAT has sex with another undesirable. And to protect THAT, writes her book, within which has the recovery of the lost book of "the daughter's" mother.

So far so good. But the execution of this in cinematic terms was a mess. There is a scene where "the daughter" claims the writer as her mother, but its disconnected. There's the scene where the older woman lies nude on the younger's bed and has unwanted sex. These only overlay after the fact when you work it out. The real fulcrum is supposed to be the pool; I suppose the director felt he could command the images better than he has.

The metaphor I suppose is languid fluid realities, submarine things uncovered. We have identical shots of the two women swimming. We have a signature shot which has the camera moving up the reclining swimsuited young body to the head, lingering over the sensuous zones, and at the head we discover this attractive man standing over. Masturbation ensues.

The same shot is repeated with our older woman who we now discover has her own sensual body. (Until then we've only seen this woman in frumpy clothes.) The shot is identical but this time in the young man's place is the old gardener, obviously the real replacing the fantasy. After the fantasy romance is killed, she does have sex with this gardener.

The shot is replicated again, but with the two women this time.

You can see this director's visual ambitions, and how they squeak against the boundaries of his capabilities. Oh how Sascha Vierny would have mastered this pool, this water, this skin. Instead we get something intended to be deep, but can only be shallow.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.