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Naissance des Pieuvres (Water Lilies) (2008)

tomatometer

75

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 44
Fresh: 33 | Rotten: 11

Water Lilies is a sharply-observed, provocative coming-of-age story that captures the anxieties of the early teen years.

69

Average Rating: 6.2/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 5

Water Lilies is a sharply-observed, provocative coming-of-age story that captures the anxieties of the early teen years.

audience

67

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 3,010

My Rating

Movie Info

Three 15-year-old girls living in the ultra-modern Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise find the dynamics of their relationships gradually beginning to shift in first-time filmmaker Céline Sciamma's intimate look into the world of synchronized swimming. Floriane (Adele Haenel) is a beautiful blonde with a perfect body and remarkable talent in the pool. Marie (Pauline Acquart) is something of a tomboy taken to water, and Anne (Louise Blachere) is an overweight-but-outgoing swimmer whose crush on a male

Sep 2, 2008

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All Critics (44) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (33) | Rotten (11) | DVD (2)

A fascinating exploration of female friendship, love, manipulation, betrayal and healing.

July 31, 2008 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A narrowly interesting story by French writer-director CÃ (C)line Sciamma about three girls whose lives are connected by synchronized swimming.

July 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

First-time writer/director Celine Sciamma focuses exclusively, empathetically and insightfully on her protagonists' coming-of-age experiences.

July 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While it never quite reaches Jack T. Ripper levels of absurdity, Water nonetheless drowns out its science with hazy spirituality and utterly preposterous claims. In the end, it all smells fishy.

April 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety | Comment (1)
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Celine Sciamma's quiet drama has moments of motionless yearning that contrast the intense emotions of its 15-year-old protagonists.

April 4, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The original French title of this flick translates as Birth of Octopuses, and it's a more accurate description of the complicated relationships in this well-acted coming-of-age story, the impressive debut of filmmaker Céline Sciamma.

April 4, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Post | Comment (1)
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Frankly and sensitively packs in a lot of teen girls' yearning for conformity above the water line and down below%u2013 pressure, insecurity, romance, and sexual exploration.

December 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Film-Forward.com
Film-Forward.com

Borderline kiddie porn featuring sexual girl-on-girl garbage sniffing of one's favorite female object of desire, post-feminist burying instead of burning bras as female self-hatred, and gal pal how-to tips on deflowering your best friend.

September 3, 2008 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze | Comments (4)
NewsBlaze

It'd all be tres dull if it weren't for the magnificent faces of Pauline Acquart and Adele Haenel. Actually, it still gets dull, even if at times the film skirts kiddie-porn territory.

August 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Let's Not Listen
Let's Not Listen

If poetry is about finding the perfect words to say something, then movie poetry is about finding perfect images. And Water Lilies has several of them.

July 25, 2008 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Water Lilies is that rare film about female sexuality that is made for females to relate to, not for males to fantasize about.

July 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

...a coming of age tale that is at once raw and beautiful.

July 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

A sensitive study of budding adolescent desires, a pervert's delight, plus synchronized swimming. Yes, Water Lilies will be many things to many people.

May 16, 2008 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Daily News
Los Angeles Daily News

Sciamma demonstrates the potential to make a truly erotic and interesting film. This just isn't it.

May 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Metromix.com
Metromix.com

Unfortunately, this is not a satire like Dr. Strangelove -- it's a documentary in which talking heads spout pseudoscientific claptrap that comes across as all wet.

April 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine | Comment (1)
Boxoffice Magazine

For all its virtues as a coming-of-age study, it's too slow, too single dimensional to create much of a stir beyond arthouse and hothouse interest. The close-ups of Acquart's classic beauty are well worth the screen time, however.

April 14, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals
Cinema Signals

The cruelty of adolescence emerges razor-sharp and could send many in the audience back to the most painful days of puberty.

April 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Though the material is familiar, [director Celine] Sciamma has a light touch and avoids many teen-movie cliches. Her girls aren't hyperverbal -- in fact, they're the opposite, guarded and always listening for cues before they reveal themselves in words.

April 4, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

One of the slipperiest teenage coming-of-age dramas in quite some time.

April 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Audience Reviews for Naissance des Pieuvres (Water Lilies)

"water lilies" is a coming-of-age lesbian tale, seemingly designed for the interests of certain restricted group of audience. but the issue of psychological developments is universally recognized rather than a propaganda to politically patronize a certain sort of lifestyle as homosexual movies tend to be at the most of time.

basically it's a story about a flat-chested lean-figured tomboyish girl's(marie) obssesion over the lead ballerina(floriane) in school's synchronized swimming team as well as her sympathetic friendship with her obese nymphomaniac friend (anne) who craves the attention of boys from sportsteam. marie has a crush over floriane as awestricken by floriane's fair poise around the pool, so she begs to be a groupie to watch them practice, then marie becomes the accomplice who connives floriane's promiscuity by being a front excuse to facilitate floriance making out with her male pursuers. angered by floriane's apathetic usage, marie decides to walk off the set, but disuaded by floriane. then eventually the charm gal, the proud queen bee starts to confess how sexually frigid she is, afraid to bleed by penetration(the truth is she's a virgin) but she has to act sluttish so she could remain her reputation as the most wanted girl in school. so marie gets to be acquainted with her crush who's in need of companionship since all the girls hates this flaunting "floozie".

one day floriane requests the shocking impossible, she wants to be deflowered by marie. meanwhile marie's overweight friend who suffers from the common nymphomaniac sympton in adolescence gets laid with floriane's boyfriend who's agitated by floriane's constant refusal after being aroused so often so he seeks whoever's handy over there for instant gratification. so what would happen to these three young girls who seem to be dazed by their present loss of orientation in life?

there's nothing sensual about water lilies since none of these females enjoy the notion of sex, and sex is more of a political instrument to announce your status among the peers. ironically the glamourous aphrodite's frightened by sex despite the enormous sex appeal she radiates. even the lovelorn fat girl doesn't love sex but repulsed over it afterwards. sex is nothing enjoyable but an approach to reassure your self-worth or demonstration of your personal buoyancy. womanhood is something they fear but pathetically confined by the attention of opposite sex since girls would also judge and discriminate each other by the popularity with boys. it's a grim truth of puberty, totally salvage and politically incorrect. those who live thru or survive over such brutal mental ordeal fledge into womanhood; those who don't just conform to the gender system on the surface despite numerous issues with men (sex frigidity may be one thing) or choose the path of lesbianism. that's the awkward fact most women wanna bury deeply within you when you attain the state of full blossom.

undeniably this movie still sets out in the perspective of lesbian, marie, whose world has no consequence with boys, but she's also rejected and withdrawn from the mainstream, alone and friendless, except her companionship with another discriminated girl who's being rebuffed for her body shape. none of them truthfully care for boys who are only signifiers for social functionality. (and the boys don't care about girls except for their sex?) marie is the only one who's true to herself, willing to reconcile that but she's devastated by this system. is it saying lesbianism is the truth of life? or this is a movie about three half-baked little lesbians and their issue to come out of closet? so it's after all a homosexual-centered movie without universal consensus? perhaps sometimes repressed love might have more sparkles of smoldering intensities than the usual love affairs, romantic in its autistically volcanic way.

footnote: repressed love sucks. it's better to have no love at all in you, whether it's straight love or homo-love. just as "mad men" says in its first episode: INVENTED WANT, just like advertisement.
June 1, 2011
dietmountaindew
Veronique Kwak

Super Reviewer

I have never been a 15 year old girl unsure of my sexuality and yet I strangely felt a connection and an understanding with this film. That is this films strength and why Céline Sciamma's debut should be celebrated. It brings back very strong memories of adolescence, puberty and the confusion that goes with it. I've said it before, there is nothing more pathetic than a 16 year old boy in love and I guess the same goes for girls too! It is quite slow to start, with melancholy mood. It is also quite brutal at times and often difficult to watch, all adding to its overall impact. While at times it does grab your attention as much as it should, it is always beautiful to watch, the underwater scenes are particularly well done. As debuts go it is very impressive and I look forward to seeing more from the relatively young director.
March 15, 2011
SirPant

Super Reviewer

Céline Sciamma's coming of age melodrama that's titillating in it's sexual ambiguity. Céline expends a lot of screen-time fostering the tension between her characters, so much so that it comes off a little sappy and pretentious. Still, the film works well and should be a sign of good things to come from this young and obviously talented director.
December 5, 2009
flixsterman
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

A coming of age movie about two friends who are going through the struggles of fitting in and being wanted. They go through it differently, one wants a boy who is not at all interested in her and the main character is infatuated with a pretty girl who gets all the boys attention. This film surprised me, I didn't expect to really like it, but I do.
August 28, 2009
LitelBluHli

Super Reviewer

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