The Lifeguard - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Lifeguard Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ December 31, 2014
The central character, Leigh (Bell), is a selfish, disgusting, pedophilic person whose narrative isn't all that interesting or valid. She says she's lost in her life and needs to be grounded in her childhood job and home, but instead of finding herself, she simply gives up her life in the city because she's thoughtless. It's fine to misstep and take time off, but she doesn't come home to reflect and get along with her parents. Contrary to this supposed storyline, Leigh disrespects her parents, takes up with a sixteen year old kid, drags her friends into her wormhole of horribleness, and acts out like a teenager. The entire film is gross in its lovelorn depictions of the affair between Leigh and a teenager (Lambert), who she manipulates throughout the course of the film. She nearly ruins her friend's (Gummer) marriage and makes her other friend (Starr) feel like a horrible human being. The ending doesn't have Leigh understand her missteps and rectify the situation, but abandon her victims and flee elsewhere. This is a seriously screwed up film, if indeed it's trying to make the main character seem emotionally sound.
Super Reviewer
October 3, 2013
This Summer Growing Up is Optional.

Good movie! The film is only exiting and exhilarating if you know before hand what Statutory Rape is and what are the consequences if you were to engage in this illicit act. In Connecticut, the legal consequence for statutory rape is prison for 10 to 20 years. Here in Florida is even worse. It means to be a registered as a sex offender for the rest of your life and not being able to live within a 3 mile radius of a High School, park or where children play. To find a place like that here in South Florida, you would have to move under a Highway and close to the Everglades swamps. Though a decidedly darker film than one would expect, tragic moments are often interrupted by a certain lightness that, in the film's conclusion, allows the audience to hope for our protagonists' future. This is definitely a film worth watching, if simply for the experience of becoming invested in this deeply character-driven story.

A former valedictorian quits her reporter job in New York and returns to the place she last felt happy: her childhood home in Connecticut. She gets work as a lifeguard and starts a dangerous relationship with a troubled teenager.
Super Reviewer
September 11, 2013
three stars
Super Reviewer
½ November 25, 2013
Kristen Bell headlines the deplorable indie film The Lifeguard. A depressed and disaffected New York City reporter returns to her home town where she reverts back to her delinquent ways and has an affair with a high school student. The plot just meanders aimlessly from cliche to cliche without any point. And, the characters aren't very likable or interesting. The acting us also especially weak; even Bell gives a phoned in performance. The Lifeguard is an insipid and inane piece of tripe that hints at a moral, but never gets around to it.
Super Reviewer
½ June 26, 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 every day lives, when swimming at the local pool and the appropriate places to skateboard were your biggest 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. Director Liz W. Garcia may never be praised for this film, but to her defense, this independent film takes many distinct and unexpected turns which 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, the first thing I noticed was 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 normal rhetoric of sexual politics, especially with her blossoming romance with a boy half her age, but 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 can appreciate a methodical, older than usual coming of age story, along with an above par showing from Kristen Bell, then "The Lifeguard" might just be better than the critics are making it.
½ June 1, 2015
Clumsily put together and rather boring despite a short running time. The cast is able to muster some believablility to their roles, but this film was doomed by its direction.
½ December 18, 2014
Very boring to start off with but once she meets a troubled teen boy the movie starts to pick up. Kind of a sad movie.
½ July 12, 2014
It's not that this is a poorly made movie. It's just that its lighthearted "oh, well stuff happens" treatment of statutory rape is at the very least, a dangerous message to send. Probably the most unintentionally disturbing movie I've ever seen.
June 27, 2014
Very interesting movie. I like Kristen Bell a lot. She hooks up with a high school guy in this one. Movie is kinda dark.
August 10, 2013
A movie about a woman who is lost and confused in life, so she comes back home and ruins a few more lives, then it just kinda ends.
May 12, 2014
Although I didn't feel the plot's outcome was... well... the right fit for the story, Kristen Bell, Martin Starr and Mamie Gummer flex some serious acting muscle. They nailed their roles. (And why hasn't Martin Starr won a major award yet? Seriously folks, this is Haverchuck we're talking about here!)

While I was shaking my head near the end of the film, it did move me to a response -- albeit frustration -- evoking emotion, the task of art: to pull us out of the apathetic doldrums of everyday life.

Interesting to note that while busheling only 4.4/10 stars on Rotten Tomatoes, it's carrying 3.5/5 stars on NETFLIX.
½ April 26, 2014
Leigh comes to realize that she hates her big city life and starts going through a crisis that I feel most of us go through on the verge of 30. She decides to return home and get her own job as a lifeguard in an attempt to escape from her problems, relive her past and simply start over. This she comes to realize does not solve her problems, but bring upon more to the point she realize she is regressing spiraling further away from reality. I enjoyed Bell and this movie and find it hits closer to home for those who have lived in small cities and have to tried to escape them with bigger cities in an attempt to simply call that a success when there are many more elements at stake.
January 20, 2014
A simple and cheaply made movie that does not stand out from the crowd.

In "The Lifeguard," Kristen Bell stars as a New York journalist who becomes mopey and decides to just leave her full time job to go back to her home town where she works as a lifeguard as a summer job.

She reunites with her family, old friends, and starts to fuck everything and everyone around her. She sparks a relationship with a 16-year-old boy who dreams of leaving the small town to live in Vermont with his dad.

This film is so cliche and sappy that I can't stand it. The story has been seen before and the only thing the filmmaker thinks he can do to make it original was what to make the title.

The Lifeguard, I give you a 40%.
½ January 1, 2014
The Lifeguard is a fairly average indie film that shows potential but ultimately fails to capture and hold the viewers attention. The acting from Kristen Bell and supporting cast members like Mamie Gummer and David Lambert is very good and the story has so much potential in shining a perspective on many people nowadays who hit their "quarter-life crisis" moments and the internal struggles they face. The problem is that too much of the film focused around a strange romance between the protagonist and a high school student. While I understand the reasons for why Liz Garcia did this, I think it hurt the film more than helped. It created an interesting dynamic between the characters but it killed what I thought should've been the focus of the film... seeing Bell's character discover herself after being lost. Overall, not a bad movie but it could've been a lot better.
½ December 28, 2013
This movie was terrible. Bad plot, just not thought through enough to be a movie. I had great respect for Kristen Bell and her previous movies, but this performance was nothing compared to what she is capable of. I won't ever recommend this movie as it is a waste of an hour and thirty minutes.
December 4, 2013
A decent, well-intended dramatic comedy from director Liz W. Garcia and talented star Kristen Bell, The Lifeguard succeeds on some levels. The story is not weighted or interesting enough to be supported by anything less than stellar direction, which Garcia fails to provide, and dramatically beautiful camera work, which the cinematographer also fails to bring to the table. We are left with what feels like an unpolished, even unfinished, secondary draft of what could have been a very good touching, raw film. I still enjoyed it quite a bit. Kristen Bell is fantastic as Leigh, a woman on the cusp of 30 who is unfulfilled in life and has the courage to start again. No one else in the principal or secondary cast did anything worth a mention. If you're a fan of Kristen Bell or raw, independent dramedy then The Lifeguard might be worth a viewing.
½ November 27, 2013
Kristen Bell surprised me in this movie because she probably will forever be associated as "Sarah Marshall" to me. This is your decent indie flick- it doesn't play safe with boundaries and lives closer to true life giving you witness to others acting out on their urges (sometimes taboo), making mistakes and dealing consequences. A lot of people don't like indie flicks for this reason, they want movies to entertain in a formulaic way.

Everyone can relate to life not being what they expected- you make all of these plans and timelines and then life happens and you question everything you've ever done. In this story Kristen's character wants to go back and start wistfully relive those last few years of high school when you are naive about what lays in front of you. To go do what you never did but always wondered about, to go back to feeling safe instead of scared.

I just couldn't rate it higher because the tiger metaphor was used way too strongly...there's a balance to it and this time it was just referenced too many times and I kept thinking "OK I get it!!" and the whole thing needed a tighter script. Still worth a watch though, Kristen proves that really she can act.
½ November 24, 2013
a very slow and almost pointless finding your way movie. not a whole lot takes place during the movie except one illegal relationship and a girl gets a new and low stress job. kinda pulls you up to a point and then keeps you at the same level for the entirety and then lets you down in the end. watch if you will.
December 14, 2015
Staring at the poster for 90 minutes is more interesting than watching the movie.
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