Surfwise - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Surfwise Reviews

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Marty Mapes
Movie Habit
April 21, 2009
New Bohemian lifestyle: good, bad, or neutral?
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Robert Roten
Laramie Movie Scope
February 11, 2009
This documentary about a famous family of nomadic surfers is fascinating not only because of the certifiable oddball patriarch, but also because of his endlessly creative offspring.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Andrea Gronvall
Chicago Reader
December 17, 2008
The fallout decades later provides the drama in this documentary by Doug Pray, who lets his eccentric octogenarian subject off a little too easy.
Nora Lee Mandel
December 7, 2008
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 | Original Score: 6/10
Christian Toto
What Would Toto Watch?
December 4, 2008
Surfwise will make you hug your parents a little harder the next time you see them.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
November 30, 2008
Provocative but even-handed subculture lifestyle film.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Austin Kennedy
Sin Magazine
October 17, 2008
Doug Pray, has made a fascinating look at a man who not only was a great revolutionary, but a pure human being.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Sean P. Means
Salt Lake Tribune
August 1, 2008
Pray's fast-paced editing matches the Paskowitzes' rootless existence, though at times it's difficult to keep track of who's who.
| Original Score: 3/4
Jeff Vice
Deseret News, Salt Lake City
July 31, 2008
The most fascinating parts of the movie explore how the Paskowitz children -- who are now in their 30s and 40s -- continue to adjust to a more 'normal' lifestyle.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Joe Leydon
Houston Chronicle
July 18, 2008
A provocative documentary about a man who dropped out to follow a dream that gradually evolved into something not unlike a nightmare.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
June 26, 2008
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 | Original Score: 3.5/4
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
June 20, 2008
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 | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
June 20, 2008
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 | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
June 19, 2008
A riveting documentary that focuses more on weird family dynamics than big waves.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Noel Murray
AV Club
June 19, 2008
Some documentarians think like essayists, propagandists, abstract painters, or magazine reporters. Doug Pray approaches his documentaries as though he's writing books.
| Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Sid Smith
Chicago Tribune
June 19, 2008
The unorthodox upbringing of the Paskowitz clan is the subject of Surfwise, the story of a family who lived on the road, camped at the beachfront and fashioned its own vanguard version of 1960s-'70s alternative lifestyles.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Jim Lane
Sacramento News & Review
June 19, 2008
...captures both the lure of the proto-hippie life and the often unresolved tensions...
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Larry Ratliff
San Antonio Express-News
June 16, 2008
Surfwise spills the gripes, the frustrations and the pain onto the screen like damaged driftwood finally feeling the steadiness of shore after a long, stormy voyage at sea.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Peter Hartlaub
San Francisco Chronicle
June 13, 2008
There are too many unanswered questions and a suspicious forced happy ending, but Surfwise is still a fascinatingly voyeuristic and emotionally powerful movie.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Beth Accomando
June 8, 2008
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 | Original Score: 6/10
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