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During a summer in Paris, a love triangle develops between three girls in this provocative and perceptive portrait of teen angst and nascent sexuality. The awkward Anne, the bad girl Floriane and the gawky Marie play an intense game of emotional chess as they wrestle with love, friendship and their desire for one another.
DVD EXTRAS: Deleted Scenes, Casting Segments
Director Céline Sciammas feature debut, Water Lilies, recalls the intimacy of teenage friendship as it tells the story of three girls grappling with their newly formed sexual identities in suburban Paris. Opening with scenes of the local high schools synchronized swimming team, Water Lilies stars Marie (Pauline Acquart), coveting a spot on the sophisticated female sports team. Her best friend, Anne (Louise Blachère), is non-athletic and grows increasingly disturbed as Marie courts swim team captain, sexy Floriane (Adele Haenel), to secure a place in the popular group. However, as Marie and Floriane grow closer, Marie learns hard lessons about loyalty and bonds girls develop at this crucial life stage. Water Lilies is stylishly filmed, with slow, rolling scenes reminiscent of Sofia Coppolas film, The Virgin Suicides. A charming shot of Marie, for example, kicking her legs up in the bath as her pet turtle swims around her exemplifies the cute, acutely personal tone this film cultivates. All three girls, but especially Floriane, exude hipster appeal that is greatly enhanced by a subtle lesbian subtext that underlies their love triangle conflict. As borders between friendship and attraction melt away, Water Lilies becomes testament to the unique intimacy that females can achieve. Unlike Sofia Coppolas films, which tend to gloss over character depth in favor of pinpointing fashionable aspects of melancholy, this films narrative unfolds craftily, through quiet dialogue between the girls that show how deeply each cares for the other. Scenes in locker rooms and swimming pools alone, as the "synchro" girls travel for competitions, get costumed, and practice their routines, make Water Lilies enjoyable. Even more rewarding, however, is Sciammas ability to turn teenage identity crisis into something humorous, while still conveying its severity and high-stakes outcomes. --Trinie Dalton
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Top customer reviews
Almost all French films are dialog heavy. The directors & screenwriters talk the audience to sleep. French story lines are built around endless chit-chat. Also, most French film makers when dealing with drama, eliminate all bright colors -- they feel that it distracts the audience from the seriousness of the characters talking. Now, along comes Water Lilies.
Not only do the actors rarely talk, when they do -- it is short and to the point. Beautifully filmed in rich bright colors, this movie is a visual experience. You watch the plot unfold, you don't listen to it unfold. You immediately understand that it is teenage love story, filled with brief moments of joy and long moments of disappointment. The story is told through a multitude of facial close-ups -- you can see what each girl is thinking, feeling.
And in the end, the main girl (age 12?) understands that what she was experiencing for a 16 yr old girl was not "love", but infatuation and that friendship is stronger than infatuation. And how is this revealed? Not through a long dissertation on what she has learned during the course of the movie, but by her being filmed alone at night next to an indoor swimming pool, and after a few moments of silence and reflection, jumping into the water.
The immediate next scene when her older friend joins her, ties a pretty bow around the meaning and end of the film.
Those two friends are the beautiful Water Lilies.
If you're searching for lesbian drams featuring high schoolers, go instead for Blue is the Warmest Color and Q.