Leigh is soon turning 30 and unhappy with the direction her life seems to be taking. She wants to make some positive changes, so returns to her small home town to live with her parents – what she calls “getting back to basics”.
She starts work as a lifeguard (her high school job!) and catches up with old friends. Unfortunately, she enters into a very inappropriate relationship, jeopardising her friendships, and doing nothing to help get her life together. In fact, under Leigh’s influence, they all start to lose direction.
There are quite a few films around where the protagonist returns home to live with the parents when things go wrong: see Bridesmaids, Girl Most Likely (Imogene), Silver Linings Playbook, Cake, Hello I Must Be Going, (and the classic…) Failure to Launch. It’s being 30 and discovering that life didn’t go according to plan, and The Lifeguard definitely fits into this list.
This film is not at all what I expected. In fact, it’s no rom com, coming under the banner of romantic drama. It is pretty sexually graphic, but it’s also very raw and there are no attempts to pretty things up. I very much like the camera work.
The film gets a bit bogged down about three-quarters of the way through. But apart from that, Bell and Gummer give great performances. All in all this movie isn’t too bad – it’s thoughtful, definitely watchable, albeit a bit depressing.