I'm writing this on the train home from seeing 'Waterlillies'; I'd just like you to know that I don't read film reviews so I have little idea of the format of such things.
I wanted to go and see this film because of my own background, from the age of eight until I was twenty-three I was a competitive swimmer. This meant that I entered manhood while spending half my free time in water, surrounded by girls who were turning into women.
Waterlillies is the story of three teenage girls and their first steps into developing more adult relationships. Set against the backdrop of synchronised swimmers it deals with the total weirdness of teenage girls. This film drops us into their lives for a few days.
Now I have to admit that I am a very stupid person when it comes to 'art' – subtext and subtlety flies right over my head with a worrying whooshing noise so it's completely possible that I have missed some really obvious points.
It's also difficult for me to comment on this film as I have never been a teenage girl, but it does a good job of putting you in their place, their concerns seem to be the ones that I remember from my own youth.
The dialogue is sparse, similarly the soundtrack is almost non-existant – yet strangely this works as part of the charm of the film. It's a French film so this means a lot's of lingering shots of moody teenagers looking moody, mostly at other moody teenagers.
There are nearly no adults in this film, we don't see the teenager's parents because, as in real life, at this age your parents just sort of vanish into the background as your mind takes on the much more pressing business of being a teenager.
But somehow it works – at the end of the film I was left speechless, I sat there chewing my lip as the end credits rolled.
Somehow it had bypassed the part of my brain that likes giant exploding things, and plugged straight into my emotions. It left me silent and thinking for a good hour, I wanted to hug someone (but had gone to the film alone) and my eyes were manfully damp. I think that it is a film that will stay with me for quite some time – much longer than the whizz-bang films that I normally like.
Waterlillies is limited release, if you have the chance to go and see it I would recommend it completely – even if nothing explodes or gets shot.
As an aside – I think that paedofear is getting to me, as I felt vaguely embarrassed by some of the lingering shots on the teenagers in swimming costumes. I think that if this film was made in the UK some tabloids would be calling for it to be banned.