Girls Can't Swim
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French filmmaker Anne-Sophie Birot makes her writing and directing debut with the coming-of-age drama Les Filles Ne Savent Pas Nager, given the unfortunate English title Girls Can't Swim. Every year, Gwen (Isild Le Besco) meets up with her best friend Lise (Karen Alyx) for a summer on the beach in Brittany. Since Gwen has grown into a reckless teenager and her parents are experiencing financial problems, this year is decidedly different. She develops an interest in sex, starts dating Frédo (Julien Cottereau), and looks for other boys to fool around with. Her dad, Alain (Pascal Elso), sells… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The film's intimate camera work and searing performances pull us deep into the girls' confusion and pain as they struggle tragically to comprehend the chasm of knowledge that's opened between them."
‑ Paul Malcolm, L.A. Weekly
"I felt sad for Lise not so much because of what happens as because she was captured by this movie when she obviously belongs in something lighter and sunnier, by Rohmer, for example."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"An overly melodramatic but somewhat insightful French coming-of-age film ..."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"The story ultimately takes hold and grips hard."
‑ Paula Nechak, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Très bleak, but worth it."
‑ , E! Online
"Birot has succeeded in making a movie that has some laughs, low points and high ideals."
‑ Jonathan Curiel, San Francisco Chronicle
"Despite its shortcomings, Girls Can't Swim represents an engaging and intimate first feature by a talented director to watch, and it's a worthy entry in the French coming-of-age genre."
‑ Loren King, Chicago Tribune
"The heedless impetuousness of youth is on full, irritating display in [this] meandering and pointless French coming-of-age import from writer-director Anne-Sophie Birot."
‑ Brent Simon, Entertainment Today
"For a long time the film succeeds with its dark, delicate treatment of these characters and its unerring respect for them."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"This film seems thirsty for reflection, itself taking on adolescent qualities."
‑ Jon Lap, Apollo Guide
"Until its final minutes this is a perceptive study of two families in crisis -- and of two girls whose friendship is severely tested by bad luck and their own immaturity."
‑ John Hartl, Seattle Times
"Compelling, beautifully photographed French import."
‑ Glenn Lovell, San Jose Mercury News
"...a well-observed and disturbing little movie"
‑ Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"Feels less like it's about teenagers, than it was written by teenagers."
‑ Jocelyn Szczepaniak-Gillece, PopMatters
More reviews for Girls Can't Swim on Rotten Tomatoes