Water Lillies

Dir: Celine Sciamma



84 mins


Céline Sciamma’s debut feature Water Lilies chronicles the angst of three suburban teenage girls.

Best friends Marie and Anne are on the fringes of the school synchronised swimming team. Anne fantasises about local boy François, while Marie seems more interested in his morally lax on/off girlfriend Florian. A mixture of chlorine, hormones and frustrated desire leads to satisfyingly agonising situations offset by the occasional fabulous swimming routine.

A beautifully observed rite of passage drama, Water Lilies portrays the pain and excitement of teenage life with evocative accuracy. The performances from the three girls are scarily good (adults are notable for their absence) and the set pieces lovingly shot. The film has a charm, humour and individuality often lacking from Hollywood teenage romances.

A word of caution however: if memories of adolescent lust and rejection are still too close for comfort, you may well end up watching Water Lilies through the gaps between your fingers.

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