Swimming Pool director Francois Ozon’s adaptation of Juan Mayorga’s play follows Claude (Ernst Umhauer), a gifted writer and student who, under false pretences, befriends a classmate and begins paying regular visits to his family home. Claude then writes of his experiences, which he gives to his curious English teacher (Fabrice Luchini).
Inevitably, Claude’s presence divides the family and exposes its fragilities. Star of the show is the character of Claude (Ernst Umhauer) - he is one of the film’s bright spots. Umhauer’s performance contains the right level of dark, ambiguous intensity to make his manipulation of the family in the film convincing and sinister.
Lauded by critics as a self-aware social satire, In The House’s genre-hopping approach - which combines thriller, comedy, cautionary tale, and family drama to varying effect - won’t be to everyone’s taste, but seasoned performers Fabrice Luchini and Kristin Scott Thomas bring a gravitas and charm to proceedings that should appeal to a broad range of cinemagoers outside the usual Ozon fanbase.