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British mystery writer Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling) feels a bit
burnt out, so her publisher John Bosload (Charles Dance) suggests
for her to stay at his villa in France for a few weeks for some rest and
relaxation ... and it really works, Sarah calms down a lot, and after a
time she really starts to write again - until Julie (Ludivine Sagnier)
arrives, Bosload's daughter from an ilicit affair, and Julie is everything
Sarah is not, open and fun-loving where Sarah is stuck up and promiscuous
while Sarah seems to be the perfect old spinster.
Of course the two women clash, especially when Julie brings home
another lover every night. But then, one day Julie doesn't come home, and
all Sarah finds is her panties on the lawn. Sarah#s first instinct is,
curiously enough, to searhc Julie's stuff, until she finds her diary,
which she soon uses as inspiration for the book she writes ...
When Julie does come back the next day, Sarah sees her in another
light, and tries to make up with her, become friends with her, even if it
is only for the sake of her book. Gradually, Julie opens up to Sarah ...
until she finds out that Sarah has been using her diary as inspiration
To have a bit of revenge, Julie the next evening invites Frank
(Jean-Marie Lamour), the waiter of the local café who she knows Sarah has
a soft spot for, over to the villa, intending to seduce him before Sarah's
very eyes - but somehow it doesn't quite work out when Frank shows way
more affection to Sarah than expected and is not all that interested in
Julie. Ultimately, Julie persuades him to a nude swim in the villa's
swimming pool, but when she starts to give him a blow job, he pushes her
away and ...
And the next day, Frank is nowhere to be found, even though Sarah
conducts a thorough investigation - until she comes home and Julie
confesses she has killed him - and indeed, his corpse is in the shack in
the garden. Asked why she did it, Julie claims it was for the sake of
Sarah's book - Julie seems to have a soft spot for writing women since her
deceased mother wrote a novel her father refused to publish ...
Sarah is far from handing Julie over to the police, instead she helps
her burying Frank in the garden, and helps her getting rid of evidence ...
and when a few days later Marcel (Marc Fayolle) almost stumbles over
Frank's grave, Sarah even seduces him to keep him from snooping around any
After weeks the women part, with nobody having grown wise to what they
did ... and as a farewell present, Julie gives Sarah her mother's
unpublished novel and asks her to have it published under her own name,
for the sake of her mother.
Back in Great Britain, Bosload refuses to publish what Sarah has given
him (which might or might not be Julie's mother's novel), which Sarah
though had already contemplated and contacted another publisher who is all
too pleased to publish it ...
The last scene though, when Bosload's daughter Julia (Lauren Farrow)
visits her daddy in the office though seem to suggest that pretty much all
of the story was just made up by Sarah, and that there never was a Julie
or a murder ... but perhaps there was.
Within Francois Ozon's oeuvre, Swimming Pool is certainly no
masterpiece, it's a rather conventional murder mystery with a few unujsual
plottwists. However, taken as a conventional murder mystery with a few
unujsual plottwists, Swimming Pool is a pretty good, original film,
beautifully photographed, intelligently directed and excellently played.