SWIMMING POOL opens with Sarah Morton, a famous British mystery author, denying her identity to a fan on the subway. Tired of London and seeking new inspiration, Sarah later becomes testy with her publisher, John, when he asks her what’s wrong. John suggests she go away to his isolated home in the South of France, where she can relax.
Sarah takes up John’s kind offer. She finds that the beautiful country locale and unhurried pace is just what she needs to start her new novel. Late one night, however, John’s promiscuous daughter, Julie, arrives unexpectedly. At first, Sarah’s steely personality is jarred by Julie’s reckless lifestyle, but then she becomes intrigued by the young woman. Sarah steals Julie’s diary and begins writing a new story.
Things come to a head when Julie brings home the handsome French waiter from the café in town that Sarah enjoys visiting. Suddenly, Sarah’s creative process and a possible real-life murder begin to blend dangerously together. A final twist in the story calls into question nearly everything that took place earlier.
SWIMMING POOL might have been an interesting psychological thriller were it not for its offensive humanist worldview, graphic sexual content, and explicit nudity. When Sarah first arrives, she takes down the Christian crucifix above her bed. When Julie puts it back up, Sarah takes it down again when she decides to actually participate in Julie’s immoral, reckless lifestyle. At another point, Julie accuses Sarah of being vicariously interested in perversion, but unwilling to explore anything smacking of perversion in real life. At this point, the movie itself slowly begins to question Sarah’s relationship between the fantasy life in her murder mysteries and real life. In doing this, however, the movie hits viewers with very strong sex scenes and an abundance of explicit nudity.
Thus, although the ultimate intention of SWIMMING POOL may not be to inspire viewers to sympathize with Sarah’s atheistic interest in murder and sexual immorality, it goes way over the top in expressing it. A movie which suggests that the line between fiction and reality is very unsteady is taking a big risk in depicting such things in such a realistic way. Furthermore, the characters of Sarah and Julie, played by English actress Charlotte Rampling and French actress Ludivine Sagnier, respectively, are not easy ones with which to identify, despite the excellent performances.
Please address your comments to:
David Linde and James Schamus
100 North Crescent Drive, Garden Level
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Phone: (310) 385-4000
Fax: (310) 385-4408
SUMMARY: SWIMMING POOL is a mystery thriller about an uptight British mystery novelist who becomes intrigued by the promiscuous, beautiful daughter of her long-time publisher. SWIMMING POOL might have been an interesting psychological thriller were it not for its offensive humanist worldview, graphic sexual content, and explicit nudity.
(HHH, AbAbAb, LL, V, SSS, NNN, AA, DD, MM) Very strong humanist worldview of mystery author with a perverted fantasy life of sex and murder; an explicit attack on Christianity; about 13 obscenities and one light profanity; implied murder and murdered corpse has blood on its head; depicted fornication, oral sex, voyeurism, suggestive dancing, and a suggestion of lesbian desires; full male and female nudity and much upper female nudity; alcohol use and drunkenness; smoking and marijuana use; and, deliberately covering up a murder and spying on people.
GENRE: Mystery Thriller