Summer in a new suburb outside Paris. Nothing to do but look at the ceiling. Marie, Anne and Floriane are 15. Their paths cross in the corridors at the local swimming pool, where love and desire make a sudden, dramatic appearance.
A strange and impressive film - very French, but also very appealing to anyone who remembers what it was/is to be young, confused about the differences between friendship/infatuation and love, about feeling you don't know the rules, and slowly realising the rules have been made and accepted by others, but they might not actually be rules thet you have to follow. I think that is a bit where the synchronized swimming parallel comes in! But the swimming is not the subject of this film - love is. Or the feelings of two (maybe three) 15-year old girls. I think this film touches upon... the mix between the child's world, the regulated world, and the world where you feel you have to become adult, don't know how to go about it, and other people seem to know stuff and all you feel is confusion, and fear of embarrassment not knowing what to do... about jealousy, without being able to utter it or do something about it.... about not being able to say what you feel... it's all here, recognizable even if it's in French and in girl... painful, touching, moving.
The young star, Pauline Acquart, is particularly good. It is all very evocative. And all those scenes in the swimming pool brought back the smell of chlorinated water vividly, too - and smells, like the little hints dropped here and there in the film, call up memories and feelings very well
I've seen Adèle Haenel in four or five films over recent years and she has always been excellent in the films that I’ve seen her in, and very different roles at that. I’d seen “Water Lilies” years ago when it was shown on the telly but didn’t now realise that Haenel was one of the lead actresses in the film. Having seen the brilliant “Girlhood” (French title “Bande de Filles”) and then finding that Céline Sciamma the director of “Girlhood” had also directed just two other full length feature films, one of which was “Water Lilies” and that Adèle Haenel was in the cast – I decided to revisit this film.
“Water Lilies” I found to be an excellent film, and a directorial debut film for Céline Sciamma at that. The three lead actresses in this film (Pauline Acquart, Louise Blachère and Adele Haenel), all perform brilliantly and especially Pauline Acquart. A Coming-Of-Age-Film that anyone who has been a teenager should be able to relate to, and for some, relating to certain aspects more specifically than others, but we might all recognise aspects of our teenage years in this film.
On the DVD you get: “Water Lilies” (1 hour 20 minutes) Scene Selection Audio Selection: Stereo, 5.1 Surround English Subtitles On/Off Extra Features: Casting Water Lilies (4 minutes) Deleted Scenes (5 minutes)
Great little French film, not for everyones taste but I found the film made with sensitivity and humour. 3 girls growing up and going through those awkward stages, feelings and emotions involved with sexual and emotional awakening. Excellent performances from all concerned especially Pauline Acquart as the love struck teenager learning the difference between love, lust and reality. If you like French cinema you'll like this, not a lot going on but a lot of subtle character devlopment and many things intimated rather than explicitly said or expressed, just like real life in other words. I think to characterise this film as a lesbian movie misses the point by a long way, the French have far more liberal attitudes to sexuality than the english, its all part of growing up and the distinction is blurred. I see this is merely a film about teenagers growing up and disovering the confusions of love and sex that hit you at that age. I think anyone watching this, whether male or female would be able to relate to it and I found it rather poignant as I realised I hadn't had to deal with all those things for many years but that's only because I'd become a boring grown up! Small price to pay for a very watchable movie.
ByM. DowdenHALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 15 August 2010
I came across this film by chance and thought I would give it a go. I must admit that I was surprised that in the first 12 minutes I had seen a girl that looked about 13 in her underwear, and one not looking much older showing full frontal nudity. However if you think that this is some type of pervy film, you will be disappointed, that is more or less all you see. I don't know how old the main leads are but they do look like the 15 year olds they are playing, which makes a change from some films I have seen.
Although the story on the main is quite simple, once you start watching this you find many subtlties that add to your viewing pleasure. All the three girls act really well, and many people mention Pauline Acquart, but for me I thought that Louise Blachere was great and could go very far as a comic actress. The story revolves around three fifteen year old girls, Marie (who is the youngest looking and the slimmest), Anne (who is the 'fat' one, although she looks more like your average girl next door), and Floriane (who can be seen as the prettiest, with the perfect body). Although a coming of age tale with hormones raging, Marie is in love with Floriane, who is really just a big tease, and tends to use people for what she can get. Anne is ashamed of her body shape and is in love with Francois, who is after Floriane.
In places this does lose pace and direction, but this is made up by the acting skills of the leads. This was Celine Sciamma's debut as writer and director and she can surely only go to greater heights from here. It is good to see a French film that once again shows that Hollywood needs to learn from its European counterparts how to make something that is sophisticated and classy, rather than some of the dross they turn out.