Release Date: Aug. 15, 2007
Set during a hot summer, Marie wishes to join the local synchronized swimming team to get closer to Floriane, the team captain, testing her relationship with her friend, Anne. Written and directed by Céline Sciamma, her debut film deals with the budding sexuality of the three main characters, each one handling it in their own ways, which adds enough realism and layers to the story. Not every teenager discovers their sexuality in the same manner; however, what they face is this sense of curiosity and anxiety. And I definitely feel it was depicted very well, with all the awkwardness and angst and confusion that comes with it. It reached out to me, and I really felt for the characters, since this is a stage that I think everyone has struggled with when growing up. The characters are therefore written realistically and with care. There are a few moments and character decisions that I did find questionable, but they're otherwise well-developed--and in the end, they're still flawed. They don't really come to terms with their sexuality, nor is there this fairytale ending to each storyline, and it's because they still have exploration and growing to do. It just continues to show how much understanding Céline has on the topic of female sexuality. The performances from the three main leads also elevated the core themes and the realism. They weren't over-the-top, they just genuinely felt like real teenagers, and when it comes to teen dramas, sometimes that's not always easy to pull off. As far as technical achievement, there isn't anything in particular that stands out. The underwater sequences are filmed quite well, and there are some impressionable shots, but that's obviously not the focus. Céline aimed to tell a very simple but complex, character-driven story, and she succeeded. For this being her debut film, she shows to be a formidable and sensible director who not only knows what she's doing, but cares about what she's doing and how she does it. And though I can't guarantee everyone can relate to this film and its story, I think anyone can at least admire her sensitive approach.