In With a Friend Like Harry, two former schoolmates accidentally meet in a roadside bathroom. Michel (Laurent Lucas) is on vacation with his wife Claire (Mathilde Seigner) and their three little daughters. He is harried and haggard, far from enjoying this so-called vacation: an endless ride with whining and screaming kids in an un-air conditioned car. Harry (Sergi López) is everything Michel is not: Sleek and self-contained, he doesn't seem to be burdened by anything except good memories and a load of money. Within minutes, Harry invites himself and his girlfriend, a corpulent, springy bun named Plum (Sophie Guillemin), to Michel's house -- to reminisce about the good old school days Michel himself can barely remember.
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Francois Ozon is a filmmaker with a gift for making imaginative homages to old genre films, and he vividly revels in the niches and nuances of the styles he appropriates.
In 2000's Fassbinder adaptation "Water Drops On Burning Rocks," he replicates every aspect of the 1970s European sex farce -- right down to the shag carpet -- with such accuracy that without a copyright date, you'd swear the movie was 30 years old. In 2002's "8 Women," he affectionately parodies Technicolor melodramas, Agatha Christie mysteries and movie musicals, nailing the aura of all three with satirical glee.
And in his seductive new English-language thriller "Swimming Pool," the writer-director subtly and masterfully hints at the picture's shadowy neo-film-noir essence even in early scenes that seem deceptively sunshiny in the south of France, where a creatively and sexually frustrated, aging British mystery novelist (Charlotte Rampling) seeks inspiration by taking a working holiday to the vibrant, vacant second home of her publisher and former lover (Charles Dance).
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