Set a coming of age film about adolescent French girls in a swimming pool somewhere in the suburbs of Paris and you've got me. I love the genre, can't get enough of French actresses, and I have an unhealthy interest in swimming. With Water Lilies, filmmaker Céline Sciamma had all the right elements, but the film never delivers.
The story centers on three fifteen year old girls. Blond, full-figured Floriane (Adele Haenel), the captain of the synchronized swim team, is a natural sex bomb. Boys swarm to her like honey; so does the smitten Marie (Pauline Acquart), a tom boy whose body hasn't begun to develop. Then there is Anne (Louise Blachère), another synchronized swimmer who is overweight and therefore unpopular. The fickle Marie prefers her pretty friend to the plain one.
The over-inflated drama of Water Lilies hinges on the girls' sexual awakening. Who will lose their virginity first? Floriane and Anne want the same guy. Marie wants Floriane. While the three young actresses are all appealing, and Floriane especially looks fantastic in a bathing suit, the narrative drowns in an over-chlorinated pool of teenage angst.
The underwater shots of synchronized swim practice are certainly something, but Marie can stare longingly at Floriane only so many times before my more than ample patience for watching pretty, tormented girls becomes altogether spent.