THE LIFEGUARD

BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
SEPTEMBER 7, 2013

Who doesn’t wonder what it would be like to step back into the days of high school? The days before careers and serious relationships toiled our everyday lives, when swimming at the local pool and the appropriate places to skateboard, were your most significant worries. In “The Lifeguard,” leading lady, Kristen Bell takes that step back, after a piece of her writing is rejected from her newspaper and the affair she is having comes to a close. Praise may never come for director Liz W. Garcia and her film, but to her defense, this independent film takes many sharp and unexpected turns that keep it, at least minimally fresh and a nice change of pace. Kristen Bell’s character isn’t the only one taking strides to change, as Bell herself takes on this role in a little Indie, something we haven’t yet seen from her, and she dominates.

Playing the flawed heroine, I noticed the lack of make-up used in the film, which I wholly respect. She’s gorgeous, and there’s no reason to cover that up. On top of that, she delivers a multi-layered performance, as her character falls down this underage rabbit hole, trying all she can to regain some semblance of youth before she turns 30. Although it could have easily spun into the typical rhetoric of sexual politics, especially with her blossoming romance with a boy half her age, it stands its ground, and I come to respect it more for that. The problem the film faces is its self-indulgence and slow pace, causing many viewers to cry boredom. But if you’re willing to put in the time and appreciate an orderly, older than the usual coming of age story, along with an above par showing from Kristen Bell, then “The Lifeguard” might be better than the critics are making it.

RELEASE DATE
August 30, 2013

DIRECTOR
Liz W. Garcia

WRITTEN BY
Liz W. Garcia

STUDIO
Focus World
Screen Media Films

R
(for strong sexuality, brief graphic nudity, drug use, language and a disturbing image – some involving teens)

DRAMA
ROMANCE

98 minutes

CINEMATOGRAPHER
John Peters

COMPOSER
Fred Avril

EDITOR
Jennifer Davidoff Cook
Elizabeth Kling

CAST
Kristen Bell
Mamie Gummer
Martin Starr
Alex Shaffer
John Finn
David Lambert
Joshua Harto
Amy Madigan

PRODUCED BY
Liz W. Garcia
Milan Chakraborty
Joshua Harto
Mike Landry
Ed McWilliams
Carlos Velazquez

BUDGET
$900,000

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