The Lifeguard

This Summer Growing Up is Optional

98 min     5.4     2013     USA


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.


Wuchak wrote:
***A successful-yet- disheartened adult goes back home to refresh, but momentarily forgets she’s an adult*** An overachieving 29 year-old reporter in New York City (Kristen Bell) experiences burnout and so flees to her hometown in Connecticut where she gets her old lifeguard job back at the local pool. She reunites with old friends as well as establishes new relations with the teens that frequent the pool, which isn’t a good mix if the adult throws wisdom to the wind. "The Lifeguard" (2013) is a realistic slice-of-life drama that meshes "Lifeguard" (1976) and “Summer of ’42” (1971) with elements of "Snow Angels" (2007). The opening turned me off with its hand-held-camera Indie vibe, but the story eventually pulled me in and the movie turned out to be a pleasant surprise, even a bit of a hidden gem. Leigh (Bell) wanted to go back to her hometown to recapture her carefree adolescent happiness while the teen dudes ironically wanted to escape the mundane town to experience real life. Once an adult, however, you can never be a teen again. It’s gone forever. Everything smacks of real life: the good, the foolish and the ugly. Questions of wisdom (boundaries), responsibility and morality are effectively explored. The movie runs 1 hour, 38 minutes, and was shot in Sewickley Valley, Pennsylvania, just northwest of Pittsburgh. GRADE: A-