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  •  READER COMMENTS

    Reader comments on Swimming Pool

    Subject: In the Deep End, Beneath the Weird Surface
    Date: Aug 15, 2003
    Sender: Peter WilsonPrevious | Next

    I found the "Here is your answer": Link in Marc Brandon Daniel's post a worthwhile read; it's to an interpretation of Swimming Pool [ Link ] by someone called Suzy McKee Charnas. It's Suzy's opinion that most of the events in France were in fact the fanciful contents of author/protagonist Sarah's loose and free new novel (written at the villa), rather than actual happenings. Sounds about right to me, and clears up much of my personal confusion on leaving the theatre.

    But whatever the concrete plot/reality was supposed to be, I got a distinct sense of inner, positive changes going on in Sarah. The puzzling developments -- whether they were Sarah's creative invention, or actual events on her holiday -- were symbolic of these inner changes.

    Sarah starts out frustrated, resentful and discontented. At least some of that is aimed at her publisher, who is possibly also a lover, although we don't get the full story on that. Disconcertingly, the further along we get in the series of more and more unlikely plot developments, the more calm, comfortable -- even downright pleased Sarah becomes. By the time we get past the outrageous murder and into the cover-up, we're seeing that cheshire cat smile almost permanently glued to her kisser! There is something about these outwardly disturbing events that is deeply satisfying to her.

    I read the characters archetypaly -- the way a Jungian would interpret a dream. It seems to me that French Julie is an aspect of Sarah, a side of her that she has been alienated from (this would fit the theory that much of the movie is a literary creation of Sarah's; she reclaims her lost wholeness through this act of creative writing). After initial disdain and disapproval, Sarah starts to take an interest in this rejected, abandoned waif.

    If Julie is seen as a formerly repressed part of herself, they both must have had a common past that caused them to become estranged. I don't fully get it, but somehow Frank the waiter is the scapegoat for some skeleton in the psychic closet; he takes the repressed rage of Sarah/Julie toward men -- a rage that must have first formed by some male figure in their past, maybe a father.

    Ask any analyst: to get past a crippling anxiety or block, you first need to contact your anger. Anger is the beginning of throwing off any oppressor, even an internal one. Unfortunately it's not expressed very inteligently, in this senseless slaying; but finding and acknowleging one's rage is an important step on the road to reclaiming active will -- as opposed to the rather bitter passivity and victimhood formerly seen (in their respective styles) in both Sarah and Julie.

    Somehow, the repressed rage had to be expressed (you kind of hope it's just in Sarah's writing, rather than in reality -- poor Frank!), like a ritual cleansing, and then buried for good.

    It's notable that neither half of Sarah/Julie could have accomplished that whole drama individually; it took Julie to contact and express the anger, and it took the maturity and competence of Sarah to accept it and then clean up after it.

    No wonder Sarah is looking so empowered and positive at the end, despite the horrible goings-on. She's experienced a re-integration with a lost part of herself, and a catharsis from some old wound that was weighing her down with anger and frustration -- which was probably behind her victimhood to, and dependance on, that dork her publisher! Now she's free of him.

    This movie sure didn't engratiate itself by having a plot so hard to make sense of, and so at odds with the emotional undercurrent. But you could feel the rumblings and creakings of a soul getting renovated underneath the wild surface activity. Definitely one of the more intriguing movies I've seen recently.


    Previous: Not worth analyzing | Next: Re: In the Deep End, Beneath the Weird Surface

    Respond to this message | Return to original article: Swimming Pool




    Comment index:

  • swimming pool   from kat, Jul 28, 2003
  • Re: swimming pool   from UnkleTim, Aug 10, 2003
  • what was going on   from michael, Jul 29, 2003
  • Re: what was going on   from marc brandon daniel, Aug 4, 2003
  • Re: what was going on   from Fran, Aug 24, 2003
  • Re: what was going on   from Eric Roberts, Aug 26, 2003
  • Re: what was going on   from Renee, Aug 26, 2003
  • nice movie   from ifeanyi monye, Oct 18, 2003
  • Re: what was going on   from Dick, Aug 27, 2003
  • Not worth analyzing   from James Cheatham, Jul 31, 2003
  • » In the Deep End, Beneath the Weird Surface «   from Peter Wilson, Aug 15, 2003
  • swimming pool, not so clear waters   from Sindy, Aug 26, 2003
  • Re: In the Deep End, Beneath the Weird Surface   from Dominick, Sep 2, 2003
  • Re: In the Deep End, Beneath the Weird Surface   from ifeanyi, Oct 18, 2003
  • Re: In the Deep End, Beneath the Weird Surface   from aguynamedguyinTX, Sep 10, 2004
  • Butterworth a dim   from Dominick Antonucci, Sep 2, 2003
  • [no subject]   from v.s.gaudio, Mar 24, 2010
  • swimming pool   from kat, Jul 28, 2003
  • Re: swimming pool   from UnkleTim, Aug 10, 2003
  • what was going on   from michael, Jul 29, 2003
  • Re: what was going on   from marc brandon daniel, Aug 4, 2003
  • Re: what was going on   from Fran, Aug 24, 2003
  • Re: what was going on   from Eric Roberts, Aug 26, 2003
  • Re: what was going on   from Renee, Aug 26, 2003
  • nice movie   from ifeanyi monye, Oct 18, 2003
  • Re: what was going on   from Dick, Aug 27, 2003
  • Not worth analyzing   from James Cheatham, Jul 31, 2003
  • » In the Deep End, Beneath the Weird Surface «   from Peter Wilson, Aug 15, 2003
  • swimming pool, not so clear waters   from Sindy, Aug 26, 2003
  • Re: In the Deep End, Beneath the Weird Surface   from Dominick, Sep 2, 2003
  • Re: In the Deep End, Beneath the Weird Surface   from ifeanyi, Oct 18, 2003
  • Re: In the Deep End, Beneath the Weird Surface   from aguynamedguyinTX, Sep 10, 2004
  • Butterworth a dim   from Dominick Antonucci, Sep 2, 2003
  • [no subject]   from v.s.gaudio, Mar 24, 2010