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Don't expect any choruses of "Summer Lovin' " here. This teen girls' coming-of-age movie is a sex-filled angst fest, as only the French can do it. A quickly maturing 15-year-old, Isild Le Besco, spends her summer vacation pushing her sexual boundaries with local boys, all the while avoiding her parents' bickering and drinking. When beloved school chum Karen Alyx arrives for a visit, she brings plenty of baggage, as she's depressed by her dad's recent death and her mom's instability.
Things really get complicated when Alyx becomes resentful of Le Besco's wild ways and even develops feelings for her friend's father. Watching Swim--awash in emotional outbursts and sexual experimentation--is like reading some teenager's diary. But that's a credit to writer-director Anne Sophie-Birot and her excellent cast (especially Le Besco), who make these troubled characters' irrational behavior seem organic and credible. Très bleak, but worth it.