"The Pool" is a comedy that follows the conflicts which occur at a women's pool that stem from prejudices held by the main characters. It explores how these prejudices may be informed by the characters’ own unflattering opinions they have about themselves. It is directed by German filmmaker Doris Dorrie, who owns an extensive filmography across 30 years as well as numerous awards for her work.

The film's strongest aspect is perhaps its cinematography. It almost resembles a documentary at times with how shots of random pool-related objects and background extras are interspersed between scenes to create smoother transitions, making the film feel more grounded and realistic which can enhance the relatability of its core message. There is also an interesting use of repetition where similar scenes play out throughout the movie with subtle differences showing how the community and atmosphere around the pool is changing. It demonstrates how the pool is viewed by different people and how these differing perceptions begin to clash and create conflict.

Although the film is labelled as a "comedy", there aren't many jokes that are laugh-out-loud funny. Most of the humour consists of mildly amusing banter or slightly awkward interactions between characters, which were often too lacking in wit or originality to be memorable. Some of these moments at least offered some good characterisation. The exception to this would be a certain sequence around the middle of the film where the tone becomes much more slapstick and absurd. This was the only scene that consistently elicited laughter thanks to the clever physical comedy and even the dialogue which seemed wittier than usual.

Aside from comedy, the film had a good balance of tone and handled the more dramatic moments well enough, portraying heavier topics with respect and nuance. It didn't shy away from presenting some uncomfortable elements relating to prejudice and depression while maintaining its light-hearted tone. The message about respecting oneself through being able to respect others is one that can be appreciated universally and the diverse cast emphasises that broad appeal. Most of the characters have relatable concerns about themselves whether it be age, body image or personal freedom, and it is clear these struggles are informed by the wider contexts surrounding issues of gender, sexuality and race. The film communicated these ideas clearly but perhaps not as effectively as it could have due to how its characters are written. There's little about them to discuss beyond the basic traits they share with common character archetypes. Their blandness makes it harder to sympathise with them and hurts the delivery of the film's central themes.

All this to say "The Pool" is not necessarily a bad movie. However, it suffers greatly from being typical and is simply not unique or creative enough to stand out from other films with similar themes or premises. It is plain and predictable, able to keep the audience interested enough for its runtime but not much longer after that.

Jack Griffin