DVD The Lifeguard

DVD The Lifeguard
DVD The Lifeguard
Run time: 98 min
Rating: 5.7
Genres: Drama | Romance
Director: Liz W. Garcia
Writers: Liz W. Garcia
Stars: Kristen Bell, Mamie Gummer, Martin Starr
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.
Plot Keywords: connecticut, childhood home, teenager, lifeguard, two word title
Country: USA
Release Date: 24 February 2014 (UK)


  1. I couldn't believe the 5.5 average! People act like this movie is your guide to having sex with minors! Did they not see the rest of the movie? The tag line "this summer growing up is optional" is misplaced, because it makes you think this is a comedy; well it isn't. And maybe that's a reason why so many people didn't like it? They wanted to see a comedy and ended up with a sad not-yet-mid-life crisis drama. Or maybe when you can't relate to the problems the movie is dealing with, it's easy to focus simply on the love story and miss the point? This is a powerful character movie where every one of the main characters shows us something to relate too, or, as I perceived it, they all portray sides of the same issue.

    Leigh (Kristen Bell) feels confused, depressed, lost. She is almost 30 years old and realizes she doesn't want to keep on living a life that does not fulfill her. She shouldn't have to. Leigh wants to feel alive again, she is tired of not being happy. "You look sad" Jason says to her, and that's exactly how she looks. She was a valedictorian, with high expectations, and then when she did grow up, it is not nice as promised. She wants to escape, bury her head in the sand, feel good again, feel alive. Is it bad to want to feel good? When Jason holds her in his arms, towering over her as she is so petite, she looks sheltered again, and "you will never be sheltered again", she tells Jason. She is "sucking his youth like a vampire".

    Todd (Martin Starr) and Mel (Mamie Gummer) are Leigh's high-school friends. Todd, still living in a small town, still in the closet, works a job where he will not be missed if he goes away for half an hour. He looks sad too. "Why don't you leave?" Matty asks the obvious question; "I just can't". Inertia, fear. Growing-up (for real) is scary. The look on his face when Mel yells at him "what's wrong with you?", is so real, he looks so hurt. When Leigh starts her "escape trip" he is eager to follow. We will see him fall low in the process, but at the end, really grow. Martin Starr, and Kristen Bell as well, prove here that they can be great in non-comedic roles as well. Mel also follows her two friends in their carefree journey, although reluctantly. She looks like she has her life together. Married, a vice-principal, trying to get pregnant. A responsible grown-up. The picture of the perfect life, but she is stressed and unhappy. That "perfect" mold doesn't quite fit her. At the end, she get's to be more conscious of her wants and her choices.

    To relive their youth, Leigh, Todd and Mel hang out with a group of 16-year-old boys, who are in their turn frustrated with being misunderstood teenagers in a small town. The interactions between the two age groups were beautiful, as each learns and grows from the other. The young cast was excellent too. Especially David Lambert as Jason, who did a great job looking like the mixture of child and adult that a teenager is.

    The setting of the pool, Leigh's pale looks, the nature hikes, the quiet gas station at night, create a fitting melancholic atmosphere to surround the story. When the characters grow up at the end, Jason and Todd for the first time, Leigh and Mel for a second time, it's a mature choice, a step forwards. Time does only move in one direction, but swimming is different than just floating along.

  2. I've got no experience with Veronica Mars, but I can see why people like Kristen Bell. She's real and relatable, as are all of the characters in this film.

    At age 29, with her life in the city more disheartening and less complete than she ever expected, Kristen Bell's Leigh heads back home, where her two best friends (Mammie Gummer of The Good Wife and the familiar Martin Starr of Freaks and Geeks and about a million other comedies) are leading lives equally unperfected. During her aimless summer in her home town, she crosses paths with the local drop-outs, played sensitively and convincingly by a trio of young actors, including recently discovered teen actor Alex Shaffer of the Paul Giamatti film Win, Win, in a supporting role. Youthful indiscretions can't really cohabit with adult responsibilities, and the dramatic tension is ratcheted-up (if also resolved fairly easily) in sincere ways.

    Nice production and a convincing story of early middle-age indecision with nuanced acting by a strong cast of recognizable faces adds up to a satisfying film.

  3. Liz W. Garcia may not be the most veteran film director out there, but her new movie, The Lifeguard, may very well bring her name to the forefront of director's putting forth real quality work. Garcia is normally a screenwriter which is why I felt that The Lifeguard was a movie that captures the real spirit of people in a quarter life crisis. As I am 22, I felt like I could relate to the struggles, protagonist, Leigh deals with in her effort to relive the simplicity and innocence of her childhood home in Connecticut. Overall, the story is brought to new heights with the outstanding performances by a cast including the likes of Veronica Mar's star Kristen Bell and Freaks and Geeks alum Martin Starr. Garcia really hits home with a story that will resonate with young adults everywhere, reminding us all that growing up never gets any easier.

  4. I'm voting 10, solely to bring the points up, but movie isn't that great. Its around 8 at its best. But, come on, 5.5?!!

    On the other hand, this is one though, SOB kinda movie. Its really hard to understand, and hard to love it. We less fortunate – we dig it and we dig it deep and completely. True beauty of this flick is in the "wholesomeness" of the Big Picture – and it seems too heavy for most American viewers to understand it. Yeah, there is age difference, but thats completely out of the point. I myself was in the similar position not that long time ago and we weren't the friends 😀 Thats why I could see some of the masters work by Bell – her face when Little Jason is starting his story. It goes from focusing attention to smile, but that is one really specific smile – it comes from the heart.

    Let me tell you – Kristen Bell is pure magic. She already had me in Veronica Mars, but this is much better. Shes magnificent artist and now I understand why she done this movie. It fits her really well.

    Also, writing is really original – no big "turnover", no "comeback", not a f***n happy ending – it ends but end is not really an end. You're left with a though of love between Leigh and Jayson, but with a kind of hope.

    Like I said, most Americans defines their relationship as "statuary rape" and have a panic attack when movie didn't teach us that their this were wrong. Well, this is obviously a hard thing to swallow. Judgment is left to us, the viewers. If you need a frikin confirmation of yours beliefs, what kind of beliefs are those? ofc its immoral, questionable, unfair to the younger partner, but that was a love on a first sight.

    I was really depressed in the end, especially cause I expected from the poster for this movie to be some kind of mindless fun with Veronica Mars. Hot blonde, bathing suite, underage teenagers.. Lets rock'n'roll! Lets push the boundaries really far, far away.. And this movie did it – it awakens true feelings and some painful memories and its REAL. Unlike most hollywoodesque garbage nowdays with utter boring scripts, this one feels like real life. Its ART. Its not "best movie of our times", there are a lot of flaws, but its much closer to the ART than all the Batmans in this cruel world.

Leave a Reply

Lost Password