• Surfwise
    3 minutes 32 seconds
    Added: May 9, 2008

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Surfwise Reviews

Page 1 of 3
Andrea Gronvall
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The fallout decades later provides the drama in this documentary by Doug Pray, who lets his eccentric octogenarian subject off a little too easy.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

December 17, 2008
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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The film's director, Doug Pray, has been able to track down each and every Paskowitz child, and he weaves their memories together with old home movies, still photos and news clippings to create an evocative portrait of their lives.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3/4

June 20, 2008
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A mesmerizingly ambivalent documentary about an itinerant family of Jewish surfer-dude health nuts.

Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly

May 22, 2008
Nora Lee Mandel
Film-Forward.com

Intriguing family story of the sunny and dark sides of extreme home-schooling by surfing, through a trove of photos, home movies, and reminiscences, but little insight.

Full Review Source: Film-Forward.com | Original Score: 6/10

December 7, 2008
Edward Douglas
ComingSoon.net

By no means 'just another surfing doc,' as it offers an in-depth look at alternative parenting that raises many questions, like how the Paskowitzes were able to ward off the truant officers for so many years.

Full Review Source: ComingSoon.net | Original Score: 7.5/10

May 9, 2008
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Surfwise is a graceful, searching film that seems to have missed no opportunity to reveal truths about parents and children and how they come to understand each other.

Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press | Original Score: 4/4

June 20, 2008
Christian Toto
What Would Toto Watch?

Surfwise will make you hug your parents a little harder the next time you see them.

Full Review Source: What Would Toto Watch? | Original Score: 3/4

December 4, 2008
Austin Kennedy
Sin Magazine

Doug Pray, has made a fascinating look at a man who not only was a great revolutionary, but a pure human being.

Full Review Source: Sin Magazine | Original Score: 3/4

October 17, 2008
Bill Gibron
PopMatters

(Surfwise) delivers facts with fanciful shading, sequences that explain the lure of the ocean with images of the vast waves washing over their would-be conquerors.

Full Review Source: PopMatters | Original Score: 4/5

May 8, 2008
Tricia Olszewski
Let's Not Listen

The story is essentially Doc's, but the more compelling aspect of Surfwise is the obvious question: Are the kids dysfunctional or what?

Full Review Source: Let's Not Listen

May 28, 2008
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Surfwise has a bohemian vibe and a cool sheen, but it's an eager-to-please, pleasing commercial enterprise with a reassuring narrative arc.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 4/5

May 9, 2008
Brian Orndorf
BrianOrndorf.com

Surfwise is a captivating documentary highlighted by some significant scenes of naked confession and an overall portrait of misplaced intelligence...a powerful document of familial agitation and disillusionment.

Full Review Source: BrianOrndorf.com | Original Score: B+

May 8, 2008
Jim Lane
Sacramento News & Review

...captures both the lure of the proto-hippie life and the often unresolved tensions...

Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review | Original Score: 4/5

June 19, 2008
Beth Accomando
KPBS.org

In the end, Surfwise is a fascinating portrait of a family that manages to be both radical and conventional, divided but still tightly bound by blood.

Full Review Source: KPBS.org | Original Score: 6/10

June 8, 2008
Cole Smithey
ColeSmithey.com

Documentarian Doug Pray ("Scratch") connects the narrative dots between the Paskowitz's nine children that survived their unconventional upbringing with varying degrees of success. You have to see this unusual story to believe it.

Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com | Original Score: B+

May 9, 2008
Drew Toal
Time Out
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Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 4/5

November 18, 2011
Brett McCracken
Christianity Today

When so many documentaries today seem concerned only with arguing a point, it's nice to see something like this which seeks only to reveal.

Full Review Source: Christianity Today | Original Score: 3/4

May 9, 2008
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Provocative but even-handed subculture lifestyle film.

Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Original Score: B

November 30, 2008
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
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The movie feels exhaustive in its loaded 90-something minutes, showing and telling us much while leaving the meaning of the tangles and twists in this family open to interpretation. For once, the tip of the iceberg is enough.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 3/4

May 23, 2008
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Not just the story of one man's obsessive quest to find harmony on a plank of wood, Surfwise offers a cautionary tale about parenting, homeschooling (camper-schooling, actually), sibling rivalries and family sacrifice.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 3.5/4

June 26, 2008
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