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Film / Swimming Pool

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Julie (left) and Sarah (right) bond over drugs and booze.

Swimming Pool is a 2003 thriller film directed by François Ozon, starring Charlotte Rampling and Ludivine Sagnier.

It is about an English writer named Sarah Morton (Rampling) who receives an offer from her publisher to take some time off and spend it at his estate in France. Sarah accepts, and subsequently begins working on a new novel, but shortly afterward, her publisher's adult daughter Julie (Sagnier) arrives and decides to spend some time at the house as well.

It should not be confused with La Piscine, a 1969 French thriller starring Alain Delon.

This film provides examples of:

  • Ambiguous Ending: At the end of the film, when Sarah returns to England and visits her publisher John, his daughter also shows up just as Sarah is leaving, but is revealed to be a completely different person than Julie, the girl that the viewer was introduced to as John's daughter. Which Julie is the real one and which is the imaginary one? If the young one is real, was she with Sarah at the French house doing all those things? Or did Sarah just invent the crazy stuff? Alternatively, was Julie even there at all? Is Franck actually dead? Did he even ever come to the house? Lots of questions, to be sure... these are just a few.
  • Betty and Veronica: Sarah is Betty (wise and restrained), while Julie is Veronica (youthful and sexual) to Franck.
  • Broken Bird: What Julie actually is, though she doesn't like to show it.
  • Disappeared Dad: Julie's father is this to her. The ending suggests otherwise, though.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Sarah uses this trope on Marcel so he stops paying attention to the fresh ground where she and Julie buried Franck.
  • Foil: Julie is one to Sarah in most ways; she is young, energetic, free-spirited and blonde, while Sarah is middle-aged, calm, reserved, and brunette. They both like to drink and smoke, though.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Julie is completely naked when she murders Franck. Except Sarah may have actually done that. Or maybe it didn't happen at all.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Julie has a big teddy bear in her bedroom.
  • Imaginary Friend: The adult-aged Julie ends up being one of these to Sarah. Probably.
  • Missing Mom: Julie's mother. Julie tells Sarah that her mother lives in Nice, but she's actually dead.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Sarah, the protagonist, is an author of mystery books.
  • Ready for Lovemaking: Sarah, to Marcel. First she invites him in through the use of sexy coat flashing, and once he enters her room, she's lying nude on her bed.
  • Silver Fox: Charlotte Rampling was 57 years old when the film was made, not quite a grandma but definitely older than most of the other cast members she interacts with. However, she is lusted after by more than one male character in the film.
  • Skinny Dipping: Julie sometimes prefers this, and on one occasion she persuades Franck to join her.
  • Stuffy Brit: Julie views Sarah as one during the first part of the film, and even describes her this way to a friend during a phone call.
  • Twist Ending: The film is well-known for having one, and it's the subject of much debate.
  • Two-Person Pool Party: Julie clearly wants to have one with Franck, and they start taking some steps in that direction, but he decides to stop it.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Ugly Guy, Hot Girl: The two men that Julie brings home and sleeps with are much less attractive than she is. This may be part of Julie's character, because she's a Hard-Drinking Party Girl and thus might not have such high standards. Or it could be because most writers are male.
  • Writer's Block: Sarah is suffering from this in regard to her detective series, which is what prompts her publisher to suggest the vacation at his house in France.