• R, 1 hr. 37 min.
  • Drama, Comedy
  • Directed By:    Liz W. Garcia
  • In Theaters:    Aug 30, 2013 Limited
  • On DVD:    Oct 8, 2013
  • Screen Media Films

The Lifeguard Reviews

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S. Jhoanna Robledo
Common Sense Media
September 3, 2013

Drama is short on story, long on illicit romance.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Rich Cline
Shadows on the Wall
September 3, 2013

A strikingly realistic approach lifts this comedy-drama above the fray, combining skilful writing and direction with transparent performances that reveal the characters' internal struggles.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Ethan Alter
Television Without Pity
September 2, 2013

The writer/director stifles any actual feeling with thudding, heavily-underlined subtext-as-text dialogue and an overreliance on indie rock scored musical montages

Sheila O'Malley
RogerEbert.com
September 2, 2013

"The Lifeguard" is hemmed in by vagueness and cliche, and nearly ruined by its soundtrack, an insistent barrage of thematically obvious alt-radio music cues.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Brent Simon
Shared Darkness
August 30, 2013

With apologies to Thomas Wolfe, you can go home again; The Lifeguard just proves that sometimes it's not the best course of action.

Full Review | Original Score: C
Todd Jorgenson
Cinemalogue.com
August 30, 2013

The film strains to be hip and edgy in its exploration of catharsis through starting over, and its central relationship feels more contrived than authentic.

Gary Goldstein
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic
August 30, 2013

Although writer-director Liz W. Garcia's wistful, angsty tale treads familiar ground, the filmmaker has crafted a credibly flawed and conflicted heroine who holds interest.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Kyle Smith
New York Post
Top Critic
August 30, 2013

The central character simply comes across as whiny and entitled instead of troubled and dark, and the central theme of getting your groove back by acting like a kid again has been done many times by much more talented filmmakers.

Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic
August 30, 2013

The movie really depends on Bell, and her story, and neither is interesting or compelling enough to engage us.

Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Avi Offer
NYC Movie Guru
August 29, 2013

Solid performances can't save the undercooked, shallow, overly simplistic screenplay.

Full Review | Original Score: 5.0/10
Jamie S. Rich
Oregonian
August 29, 2013

Bell gives a strong performance, eschewing her own perky persona to navigate the melancholia, but the script's conclusion fails to go as deep as the heavy lead-in requires.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Nicolas Rapold
New York Times
Top Critic
August 29, 2013

This directorial debut by Liz W. Garcia, a writer for television, bears some echoes of its creator's origins, going from deft to trite in its drama and setting up character arcs that feel sappily resolved within its feature length.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
Top Critic
August 29, 2013

The movie's being billed in some quarters as a comedy, which is a hell of a stretch given that the plot expands to take in statutory rape and teen suicide.

Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Jeff Beck
Examiner.com
August 29, 2013

What the film desperately needed was some originality.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
Top Critic
August 29, 2013

This sorrowful, achingly wise little drama has a lot to say about the dangers of hanging on to youth at all costs.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
MaryAnn Johanson
Flick Filosopher
August 29, 2013

Apparently it's hard to be a grownup in today's crazy world without committing consequence-free statutory rape. Ugh.

Matt Shiverdecker
Paste Magazine
August 29, 2013

The Lifeguard sadly drowns in its own clichés.

Full Review | Original Score: 5.5/10
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
AV Club
Top Critic
August 29, 2013

Like its lead character, The Lifeguard is stuck in a rut. After establishing Bell's frustration within the first five minutes, the movie continually reiterates it.

Full Review | Original Score: C-
Mike McGranaghan
Aisle Seat
August 29, 2013

Rather than feeling as though we're emotionally connected to [the lead character] during her descent, we're all too aware of the machinations of the screenplay, struggling to find ways to sink her and then bring her back up.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Brian Orndorf
Blu-ray.com
August 28, 2013

The fit's a little loose, but Bell reveals impressive range with this challenging role, helping to snap writer/director Liz W. Garcia out of the fog of absurdity she seems determine to remain in.

Full Review | Original Score: D+
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