How is it that the French are so good at dealing with adolescent sexuality? Whereas American films tend to bungle the matter with awkward joking (Juno, American Pie) or sensationalistic “oh-no-he/she-didn’t” (Kids, American Beauty), the French seem to get it right.

Water Lilies is a perfect example. Set in the suburbs of a French town, it tells the story of three 15-year-old girls whose social life revolves around the local swimming pool where they practice synchronized swimming.

Here, passions flare as friendships and crushes are blurred. Marie (Pauline Acquart) is a dowdy and shy waif who has a fascination for Floriane (Adele Haenel), a little hottie, well aware of her own good looks. Floriane is interested in the same handsome young lad that Marie’s best friend Anne (Louise Blachere) likes. Anne is, to put it bluntly, the fat one and most prone to bouts of insecurity.

If it all sounds a little teenage soap opera-y, it is, but not in a bad way. The film succeeds beautifully in telling a simple story about the dramas which dominate the tender years of adolescence.

Grade: B+

Water Lilies releases in select theaters May 16.