Age of Summer is a pleasant surprise

ageposterAge of Summer (2018)
Comedy | 7 September 2018 (USA)

Synopsis: A determined teenage boy struggles to find acceptance within the Jr. Lifeguards of Hermosa Beach while juggling relationships and challenges in the summer of 1986.

Review: If I had to choose my surprise film of the year – so far – it would be AGE OF SUMMER. This coming of age film that is Baywatch meets Sandlot meets Stand By Me has a depth to it that makes it much more than just a sand and surf flick. The nostalgia of the mid-eighties and the carefree California vibe create a warm sentiment that radiates throughout. Perfectly cast and fantastically shot it is one to see.

The story revolves around Minnesota (Percy Hynes White) a young teenage boy spending his summer as a Jr LifeGuard on Hermosa Beach. He is skinny and awkward but determined. As he stumbles along he learns a lot about friendship, girls, and how to ride the waves life sends his way. Of course he is in infatuated with most of the other girls in the group without any idea how to go beyond that.

Writing is key in a film like this and luckily it never relies on cliche crudeness or the flotsam that plague most coming of age escapades. This one feels very grounded in personal moments and the characters seem plucked from a time long before cell phones and technology. They spend there days talking and laughing and finding ways to creatively fill the boredom. You like them and want so much to step back in time to hang with them for a bit.

Another impressive element was the beautiful shots this one offers. The water scenes are incredible with slow motion surf angles and well thought out lines. Hermosa Beach feels the way it should in the 80’s. It is laid back with muted colors and carefree people. If you are going to have the word Summer in your title you have to capture that feeling perfectly.

The cast is not household names but each one of them move fluidly in the skin of their characters. Director Bill Kiely allows his actors to interact with realism which never comes across rushed or rehearsed. White nails the lead role and his ability to seem confused or surprised or troubled makes Minnesota an embraceable kid.

AGE OF SUMMER is not rated but is adult due to language, dialogue and brief nudity. Again there is nothing about this movie that is there for shock value. It is a wonderful depiction of what it means to be a young boy navigating the rocks and waves of adolescence which can be wonderful one moment and painful the next. This film captures them all.