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Water Lilies(Naissance des pieuvres)

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France · 2007
1h 25m
Director Céline Sciamma
Starring Pauline Acquart, Adèle Haenel, Louise Blachère, Warren Jacquin
Genre Drama, Romance

During a sultry summer in a French suburb, Marie is desperate to join the local pool's synchronized swimming team, but her interest isn’t solely for the sake of sport. Rather, she wants a chance to get close to Floriane—the “bad girl” of the team. A delicate drama exploring the angst of teenage sexuality.

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What are people saying?

Melanie Greenberg Profile picture for Melanie Greenberg

Such an engrossing and accurate portrayal of adolescent female queerness, feels like the viewer is being let into a secret world.

Meagen Tajalle Profile picture for Meagen Tajalle

This is a wonderfully delicate film with rich subtext, although what lies beneath the surface is often left there, undisturbed. The depth of the experiences depicted in this film isn't fully explored, but it does represent adolescence as excruciatingly confusing in a realistic way.

What are critics saying?


New York Daily News by

With no adults to add melodrama, the sweet Water Lilies depends on the emotion in its young performers' faces to move forward.


Salon by Andrew O'Hehir

Dismissed in some quarters as trash because it depicts a sexual act (of sorts) between two teenage girls, Water Lilies struck me instead as a hypnotic and wholly convincing look at teen culture from the inside, with all its courage, cruelty and unspoken codes of silence intact.


Variety by Lisa Nesselson

The painfully spot-on essence of teen angst meets the spirit of Esther Williams in Water Lilies. First film by gifted scripter-helmer Celine Sciamma nails the aching doubts and offhanded cruelty of 15- and 16-year-old girls.


New York Post by Lou Lumenick

Though Water Lilies endlessly teases the audience with its sapphic subtext and young female flesh, Sciamma seems most interested in showing how extremely cruel adolescent girls can be to each other.


The New York Times by Manohla Dargis

Water Lilies is a nice, watchable, attractive, minor work. What it lacks is a sense of purpose, a commitment not just to its characters but also to its own reason for being.

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