• 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


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The Lifeguard Reviews

Page 1 of 2
Rich Cline
Shadows on the Wall

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 Source: Shadows on the Wall | Original Score: 4/5

September 3, 2013
Gary Goldstein
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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 Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 3/5

August 30, 2013
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 3/5

August 29, 2013
Dustin Putman

Doesn't exactly win points for originality, but it is affecting all the same, scripted with care and showing that Kristen Bell is fully capable of diversifying the types of film roles she takes on.

Full Review Source: DustinPutman.com | Original Score: 2.5/4

August 8, 2013
S. Jhoanna Robledo
Common Sense Media

Drama is short on story, long on illicit romance.

Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Original Score: 2/5

September 3, 2013
Ethan Alter
Television Without Pity

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

Full Review Source: Television Without Pity

September 2, 2013
Sheila O'Malley

"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 Source: RogerEbert.com | Original Score: 2/4

September 2, 2013
Brent Simon
Shared Darkness

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 Source: Shared Darkness | Original Score: C

August 30, 2013
Todd Jorgenson

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.

Full Review Source: Cinemalogue.com

August 30, 2013
Kyle Smith
New York Post
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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 Source: New York Post | Original Score: 1/4

August 30, 2013
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 1.5/4

August 30, 2013
Avi Offer
NYC Movie Guru

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

Full Review Source: NYC Movie Guru | Original Score: 5.0/10

August 29, 2013
Jamie S. Rich

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 Source: Oregonian | Original Score: 3/5

August 29, 2013
Nicolas Rapold
New York Times
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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 Source: New York Times | Original Score: 2/5

August 29, 2013
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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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 Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 1.5/4

August 29, 2013
Jeff Beck

What the film desperately needed was some originality.

Full Review Source: Examiner.com | Original Score: 2/4

August 29, 2013
MaryAnn Johanson
Flick Filosopher

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

Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher

August 29, 2013
Matt Shiverdecker
Paste Magazine

The Lifeguard sadly drowns in its own clichés.

Full Review Source: Paste Magazine | Original Score: 5.5/10

August 29, 2013
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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 Source: AV Club | Original Score: C-

August 29, 2013
Mike McGranaghan
Aisle Seat

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 Source: Aisle Seat | Original Score: 2/4

August 29, 2013
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