Indie Gems: The Lifeguard

We all stumble sometimes.
I had a gigantic moral dilemma after watching this film. Did I like it? Did I hate it? Did I just watch a movie that condoned having sex with a minor? (Though some web sleuths over on IMDb in fact have shown that no, the film didn't. The legal age of consent in CT is 16 and as long as the adult is not an authority figure, it's okay.) Good to know.
"Awkward" is the perfect way to describe this film. Leigh (Kristen Bell) is having a bit of a quarter life crisis. Upon turning 30, she skips out on her job in the city and goes back to her small town to be live with her parents and be a lifeguard. Just like she was in high school. She ends up striking up a relationship with a troubled 16 year old, Little Jason (David Lambert) and all while dragging her two adult friends (played by Martin Starr and Mammie Gummer) down the rabbit hole with her.
It was very awkward for me to watch these adults indulge in this kind of activity with teenagers. For me, I can't think of anything worse than being a teenager again. Maybe other people had better experiences as a teen, but I sure didn't. I can never see myself fondly reminiscing on my high school days. (sure, I have great memories with my friends, but very few of them happened during school hours.) I can never see myself going back to home town and trying to re-live that life. It's just not for me. Then I realized I was being too harsh. The theme of this movie is "we all stumble sometimes." and it's true. I sure have. Not to the extent that Leigh did in this film, but I've definitely stumbled and looked back when I should've been looking forward.
After I accepted that, I really did appreciate this film. It dared to be different. Even though I don't think Kristen Bell is the strongest actress out there, this is the best I've seen of her. The whole cast was great, really, even if their characters were oh so flawed. It felt a little unrealistic at times, but it had a light at the end of the tunnel, and I can always appreciate that.
Grade: B-
Memorable Quote: "Careful, we wouldn't want you to get hurt." - Leigh (Kristen Bell)


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