The Lifeguard - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Lifeguard Reviews

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½ March 14, 2017
The final shot breaking the fourth wall almost undoes everything, but otherwise this film holds up nicely.

I love the character interactions between youth and adult - it's so risqué and yet normalized over the course of its awkwardness. That they develop into a kind of quasi-posse is actually exciting. A lot of times we see these cliques form of people that should never be friends, and we really embrace that. Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men... But that's contrived, they are aiming at selling us on this should-never-be status, but meanwhile we know what they're driving at. Here, the forbidden is clear with stakes raises by having an assistant principal involved who knows all these youths through school - she definitely knows she shouldn't be here, but she feels more free amongst them. It creates conflict at home with her conservative, money man, adult-oriented husband John, perfectly embodied by Joshua Harto.
The core of the group are Leigh, Todd, Little Jason, and Matt. There's an odd moment that kind of works when director Garcia sidesteps Todd and Matt getting to know one another, something which will further develop. It's at this point the camera focuses on a two-shot ensconcing Leigh and Little Jason intimately as they get to know one another over some pot. The moonlight may backlights them a bit too stark, but I appreciate that it's there to create some separation and add an element to the scene that'd otherwise be muddled in a muted navy blue. What this isolation does is it allows for Matt and Todd to develop without having to contrive a lengthy dialogue - we need to keep Leigh and Little Jason the central focus, but we'd like to know that each time we arrive at the Todd and Matt, there's more to their story. Also, not knowing just what they're developing allows us to wonder for a moment whether or not what Todd is doing to Matt later is acceptable to Matt... It is definitely not, and creates such mistrust that it leads to his ultimate demise, having nobody left to trust or care about in Ridgefield, CT.

Cinematographer does a quality job setting director's stage, keeping the frame interesting at all times. Use of wide-lens is select, but poignant. There's a low angle capturing Bell at her lifeguard chair near the rail. There's them driving through the field, recapturing their youth, wide lens freely panning around to create a sense of dizzying freedom.

There's a shot framing the four adults a the table of a restaurant oddly placed in front of a gas station, whose parking lot is inhabited by skaters. It stands out without anyone having to point it out, and I'd of preferred they left it that way rather than the cheesy cutaways that come later in the scene. Its as if Garcia was backing herself up, not confident that framing them wide, in focus, and spotlit in the BG would do the job. It's an ugly shot with the gas station, but it's kind of supposed to be, and I ultimately like what it foretells. These worlds of adult and youth are going to mere, FUELING the flames that ignite illicitly -- they are later at a youth party with some kind of bonfire going.
½ June 30, 2016
This was a decent movie, but I was expecting it to be more exciting.
½ June 9, 2016
What a piece of crap.
December 14, 2015
Staring at the poster for 90 minutes is more interesting than watching the movie.
November 26, 2015
I Think The Critics Were Far Too Harsh On This One. It Was A Surprising Bunch Of Fresh Faces Doing A Good Story, With The Town Pool As A Set-Piece Character Everyones Lives Revolve Around. The Focus On The Sexual Liason Story Loses Steam (Literally) Very Quickly & A Lack Of Cleat Focus On Other Characters Stories Leads To Mismatched Plot-Points & A Rather Muddled Outcome...But As Is Said, It's Not Absolutely Terrible Performances, So It's Not All Bad.
½ July 9, 2015
A very melancholy story that I found tough to get into. I like Kristin Bell, but her character isn't very likeable. Not recommended.
½ July 9, 2015
NOT as good as I thought it was gonna be
June 30, 2015
This movie is a bad influence I've watched a lot movies with cursing in them but this one ever other word is a curse word in it no exaggeration
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.
May 29, 2015
The performances here are strong, but the characters themselves are lacking, requiring far more development to move beyond being simple caricatures.The writer/director stumbles as well, poorly pacing the scenes, often grinding any momentum to a halt. There is an interesting story buried in this film, but Garcia is unable to tell it effectively.
May 19, 2015
Kristen Bell delivers a great performance despite a plain story with little laughs and little drama.
May 5, 2015
I didn't like it... it was boring and waisting of time.
½ April 7, 2015
Love her, but story was pretty flat. Had a couple steamy moments that helped.
January 20, 2015
Kristen Bell as a confused pedophile
January 3, 2015
ok movie for a Sunday afternoon. A bit depressing though..
January 1, 2015
I've been wanting to see this movie but I still can't find a way how to ?!
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.
December 26, 2014
This film offered very little surprises, it was Kristen Bell's attempt at being serious, in the style of Anne Hathaway's Rachel Getting Married. The film itself isn't particularly terrible. It's just very derivative in it's message.

Kristen Bell's character Leigh has a bit of a nervous breakdown as her relationship with her boss ends up going nowhere and the journalist pieces she writes ends up depressing her. So she decides to come home for the summer and reconnect with her youth, which includes getting her old summer job of being a lifeguard at a local pool.

In many ways while the plot is refreshing in terms of focusing someone turning 30 having an identity crisis, usually it's someone in their 40s or their early twenties. The film hardly makes you care about the character, she isn't particularly likeable, you sort of end up feeling that she is acting like a big kid, and even ends up having a sexual relationship with the 16 year old son of the pools caretaker.

While Bell does show some dramatic range, the film I personally belongs to Mamie Gummer (who I thought looked very familiar, turns out to be Meryl Streep's daughter) and Joshua Harto (the blackmailer from The Dark Knight). Their story of trying to have a baby is actually well handled and very mature. By the end though after a tragedy occurs and Bell's character ends up growing up and seeing the light in this case literally.

The film is solidly directed, well acted and well-meaning, it follows through on various plots some you can see coming a mile away. I mean the message of it's okay to be in your 30s be unsure of yourself while admirable doesn't particularly offer anything new in terms of social commentary.

Still an enjoyable if at times laboured film.
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 December 16, 2014
Bland and uninspiring
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