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Three-Minute Wonder (2001)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Kate and Mandy relax by the poolside of a deserted lido, idly trailing hands and feet in the water. They discuss whether their friend Ruth can achieve her (then unspecified) ambition: they know it's possible, as Emma B did it last term.

Both bored, they fiddle with nearby objects - inhalers, swimming goggles, Lolita-style heart-shaped sunglasses - while they wait for something to happen.

Ruth is underwater, attempting to hold her breath for three minutes. All she can see of the other two are rippling, distorted images, with hands and feet sometimes coming into sharp relief. She closes her eyes, and a shoal of bubbles emerges from her nose. She is in a state of suspended animation, relaxing in her own little world.

An ice-cream van jingles in the distance. Kate wonders whether she has time to run and buy a 99, but decides not to as she doesn't want to miss the ending. She complains about the heat. Mandy says it makes her feel sexy. Kate says she doesn't know the meaning of the word - at least not compared to Ruth.

A brief argument ensues, during which Mandy reveals that she's not sure when she started timing. Kate says that the three minutes must be up, and dives into the pool, swimming towards Ruth. Ruth detaches her watch and lets it drift to the bottom.