Girls Can't Swim

Film, Drama
Girls Can't Swim

Time Out says

Since Catherine Breillat's bold 1988 examination of teenage female sexuality, 36 Fillette, the numerous French forays into this territory have often seemed comparatively tame, trivial or unenlightening. This examination of the sea change affecting two contrasting 15-year-olds, Breton Gwen (Le Besco) and her longtime summer chum, the Parisian Lise (Alyx), certainly takes pains with the details. But the thoroughness of its attention to the checklist of adolescence (excessive telephone use, peremptory manners, manipulative charm collapsing into child-like helplessness) shades into the mechanical. The film's seeming lack of prurience, particularly in its depiction of the emotionally confused Gwen, is likewise undermined by the sketchy characterisation of her lovers, her contemporaries and her comically irate fisherman father. True, there is a vitality to the acting, but however firm the sense of the youth mileu, the overall lack of dramatic drive or development and a failure to penetrate or contextualise the characters' inner motives or feelings render the film essentially unrewarding.

By: WH


Release details

102 mins

Cast and crew

Anne-Sophie Birot
Anne-Sophie Birot, Christophe Honoré
Pascal Elso
Yelda Reynaud
Dominique Lacarrière
Sandrine Blancke
Julien Cottereau
Karen Alyx
Pascale Bussières
Marie Rivière
Isild Le Besco
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