Swimming Pool, Ozon's first film in English, stars Charlotte Rampling as uptight British mystery writer Sarah Morton, who goes to stay at her publisher's summer home in the south of France in the hopes of getting over a bout of writer's block. The film takes its time setting up Morton's rigidly controlled life, silently following her daily rituals as she begins to be able to work again. Her carefully built routine is then suddenly shattered by the arrival of her publisher's daughter Julie (Ludvine Sagnier), whose overt sexuality and reckless lifestyle alternately annoys and fascinates the writer.
The majority of the film is a painstakingly crafted character study, introducing these two completely opposite women and showing how they come to affect each of their lives. At an awfully late point in the film, an attempt is made to throw in a real life murder mystery, which isn't nearly as interesting as the stuff that came before and is resolved so rapidly that there's really not much mystery to it at all. This is followed by an ambiguous twist ending that tries to make a coy statement about the blurring of reality and fantasy in the creative process, but really just serves to undercut the relationship dynamic that was so beautifully established earlier in the film. (Seville)