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Swimming Pool (2003) In Swimming Pool , as in all French filmmaker François Ozon's loveliest work, sensuously photographed paradise is disturbed by a thrum of sexually charged anxiety.… 2003-07-02 R PT102M Mystery and Thriller Charlotte Rampling Ludivine Sagnier Charles Dance Focus Features
Movie Review

Swimming Pool (2003)

MPAA Rating: R

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Ludivine Sagnier, Swimming Pool | SIREN CALL What Seductive Sagnier did on her summer vacation
SIREN CALL What Seductive Sagnier did on her summer vacation
EW's GRADE
B+

Details Release Date: Jul 02, 2003; Rated: R; Length: 102 Minutes; Genre: Mystery and Thriller; With: Charlotte Rampling and Ludivine Sagnier; Distributor: Focus Features

In Swimming Pool, as in all French filmmaker François Ozon's loveliest work, sensuously photographed paradise is disturbed by a thrum of sexually charged anxiety. The Eden that Ozon creates in his first English-language feature (two years after his elegant marital mystery, ''Under the Sand'') is housed in an idyllic country retreat in France's beautiful Lubéron region, where Sarah Morton, a famous, prickly British whodunit author (''Sand'' star Charlotte Rampling) goes to rejuice her creative batteries. The place belongs to her publisher, John Bosload (Charles Dance), and Sarah relishes her solitude so much that the unexpected arrival of John's French daughter, Julie (Ludivine Sagnier), comes as a major annoyance. Then it gets worse: Ripe Julie flaunts her provocative sexuality (and preference for languid nudity) in front of the spinsterish older woman, and unsavory men trail in the young siren's wake.

It's ours to decide what's real and what (like Sarah's fiction) is not; Ozon specializes, after all, in creating seductive dream states that bump up against nightmares. He also specializes in treating his actresses like goddesses: Sagnier was among the octet in his ''8 Women,'' and Rampling owes her career rejuvenation to the perfection with which Ozon handled her enigmatic complications in ''Under the Sand.'' The narrative logic of ''Swimming Pool'' slips through our hands like cool water, shimmery and light-dappled, leaving behind the pleasures of summer heat and goose bumps.

Originally posted Jun 27, 2003 Published in issue #718 Jul 11, 2003 Order article reprints