Director: Liz W. Garcia
Starring: Kristen Bell; Mamie Gummer; Martin Starr; David Lambert.
Plot: 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.
Liz W. Garcia’s feature debut as writer/director ofThe Lifeguard truly was solid foundations on which to build a career.
The major thing that this picture had going for it was the story. As an independent drama centered around character and relationship development, there was an obvious need for enticing and identifiable characters that this film delivered in the bucket load. In under 100 minutes, Ms. Garcia managed to gather investment in every single character from one perspective or another by layering them in dimensions that truly grounded them in reality and ultimately won this film a good review from yours truly.
In addition to what I can write with confidence as “very good writing”, this picture also delivered some top quality performances from a mostly young cast, a testament to this writer/director’s work in the director’s chair. Kristen Bell’s performance as the seemingly lost central character – Leigh – who returned to her family home in search of herself, was identifiable; certainly for a mid 20s person like myself. She was devoid of all intentions and I feel that Bell played this role fantastically well; just another positive to add to the list of this films good points.
As a fan of the independent movie scene and therefore the developing career of Chris Starr, Iwas yet again impressed with his support work as a seemingly care free guy who saw just a little more sense than the central character. However, it was Mamie Gummer’s performance as Leigh’s best friend, Mel, and the performance of David Lambert as Leigh’s teenage lover that truly pushed this film on with some great and incredibly believable supporting performances that really emphasized the central character’s journey.
Overall, The Lifeguard was a well acted picture centered around a fantastic script that has to bring Liz W. Garcia a lot of credit moving forward with her career. I challenge anyone who reads this to not cry as you’re taken on a journey of self discovery and destruction of the completely normal lives of some under-30 people from Connecticut. This, in my opinion, is what independent films should be… Fantastic stories with multi-dimensional characters.