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Girls Can't Swim
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Top Customer Reviews
Visually, the movie is absolutely beautiful. The acting by the two stars is superb, and the characters they play are beautifully developed - fully believable adolescents. Isild Le Besco deftly captures the desperation behind Gwen's freewheeling and promiscuous experimentations with sex, and Karen Alyx infuses Lise with an almost dangerous, introverted fire, remeniscent of Melanie Lynskey in Heavenly Creatures. Many of the supporting roles were very well-played too, especially Sandrine Blancke as Lise's older sister Vivianne and Pascal Elso as Gwen's father Alain. And unlike the vast majority of cinema I've seen, this film makes a marked distinction between sex and nudity.Read more ›
They visit each other every summer and throughout the rest of the year they carry on a close correspondence. Lise has just bought a new bathing suit and is planning her trip back when tragedy strikes and her father dies. The bathing suit, I think is supposed to symbolize her entrance into womanhood, but unfortunately this bathing suit is the ugliest thing I have ever seen.
Her and Gwen begin to realize they are very different. First of all, Gwen likes sex, really likes it. She is caught in "the act" at least twice. Lise is disappointed because of how things have changed and she begins to bond instead with Gwen's father, which causes an even bigger rift between them. The film ends on such a laughably bizarre note that I had to give it kudos, because I didn't think it could get any more absurd.
If you buy this movie, it works as a coming of age film, even though it is a little melodramatic. Also, you need to take it with a grain of salt. I liked this movie because the plot was so stupid at times that I found it incredibly amusing. It is another one of those famous french movies, you know, with the 13-15 year old girl getting naked and demanding that a man, often twice her age, satisfy her. This film also does have some serious undertones, and if they had maybe just taken the melodrama down a couple of notches, the message would be a lot clearer.
Girls Can't Swim is a coming of age film. Gwen is a flighty promiscuous girl. Her friend Lise is the level headed one, the serious one. The two families spent their summer vacation at the same town by the beach (ocean or Mediterranean, no matter). Except this year, Lise stays home, there are problems in Lise's family. The film is set before the era of the cell phone, internet, or the Euro; so the two girls write letters and call eachother occasionally on the phone. Gwen misses Lise, and in her egocentric way keeps trying to convince Lise to be with her. In the meantime, Gwen wastes no time experimenting with the local boys. There's a ton of odd dynamics with the parents. It's clear that Gwen has some deep feeling for Lise, but yet that's not the central point of the film. The film tries to display all the difficulties of two young women growing up, they act like children, then adults, and then children again.
The film has the feeling of a 1980's French film as opposed to the 2000's when it was shot. There aren't many clues that place the film in a particular year. I didn't find the scenery all that gorgeous, it was nice, but nothing spectacular. The setting is more off the beaten path of summer homes on the beach, so the town is a bit tired, the beaches aren't packed full, the houses are a bit run down and small. For me, it had a gritty not so clean feel.
I have seen several Islid Le Besco films, she is an alluring actress that plays Gwen. It might be the role, but I just did not care for her.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This movie is a typical French film; with down and out parents and depressed kids and great scenery. Read morePublished on February 22, 2011 by Rick The Hick
We begin with Gwen (Isild Le Besco), a 15 or 16-year-old girl living in a precarious situation - financially and emotionally, with regards both to her parents and her string of... Read morePublished on November 9, 2009 by Muzzlehatch
This movie epitomizes the sub-genre of "French films". Which is to say it engenders every tired stereotype of what makes some French films either unwatchable or unenjoyable (the... Read morePublished on April 18, 2007 by B. Etnyre
This is one of the better films I,ve seen from France. Romance was a good film with awful dialog, this films' dialog was some what better. The story was good although tragic. Read morePublished on March 9, 2006 by Charlie Spivey
It said it was about girls going to a nudist beach.They went the beach for about five minutes and it was a topless beach. Read morePublished on October 9, 2005 by J. D. Cotton
I don't remember seeing Isild Le Besco in any other films, but she does look a bit familiar. If I have seen her elsewhere, it must have been in a role that she performed with much... Read morePublished on January 14, 2005 by J. Wyman
Whatever happened to the glory days of French cinema like Truffaut, Godard etc, now replaced by unimaginative "realists" of the type represented in this movie. Read morePublished on January 21, 2004
A French coming-of-age art film that I rented while on vacation. Despite rave reviews all over the packaging, this story of two moody teenage girls growing apart as sexuality... Read morePublished on November 1, 2002 by DJ Joe Sixpack