5.7/10
12,770
60 user 52 critic

The Lifeguard (2013)

R | | Drama, Romance | 30 July 2013 (USA)
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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.

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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Mel
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Hans (as Adam Lefevre)
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Lumpy
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Raj
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Officer Miller
Tom Kondilas ...
Officer Federici
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Marco
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Matt's Mom
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Storyline

29-year-old Leigh is on leave from her job in New York City after feeling a sense of emptiness and sadness in her life. Leigh has returned to her parents' home, to her high school job as a lifeguard and to her high school friends still in town. But Leigh continues to struggle in finding happiness since her parents don't approve and she's bullied by local kids at the pool. Leigh finds an almost like kindred spirit in high school student Little Jason; but when their friendship turns into an illicit relationship, her friends don't approve and even more tragedy awaits Leigh in her personal journey towards happiness. Written by Anne Campbell

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

This Summer Growing Up is Optional

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality, brief graphic nudity, drug use, language and a disturbing image - some involving teens | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

30 July 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Salva-vidas  »

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1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Leigh receives a postcard that is addressed to her at "433 E. 31st St" in New York City. That address no longer exists - that entire neighborhood was cleared in 1945-6 to make room for the New York University Medical Center, which occupies that spot to this day. See more »

Goofs

Near the end of the movie, Leigh receives a postcard from Jason. Although there is a faint hint of a cancellation stamp, there is no POSTNET bar code at the bottom right of the card. Obviously, this postcard never actually went through the mail. See more »

Quotes

Little Jason: Why would you do this for me?
Leigh: Because you know who you are. And what you need. You really do. And you're gonna be just fine. You are. Believe me. Believe me.
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Crazy Credits

After the last credits, a photo of Leigh is shown from when she was a lifeguard during her high school period. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #21.190 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

So So Freely
Written by Tim Perry
Performed by AgesandAges
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Touching, misunderstood, underrated. Worth watching.
4 September 2013 | by See all my reviews

I couldn't believe the 5.5 average! People act like this movie is your guide to having sex with minors! Did they not see the rest of the movie? The tag line "this summer growing up is optional" is misplaced, because it makes you think this is a comedy; well it isn't. And maybe that's a reason why so many people didn't like it? They wanted to see a comedy and ended up with a sad not-yet-mid-life crisis drama. Or maybe when you can't relate to the problems the movie is dealing with, it's easy to focus simply on the love story and miss the point? This is a powerful character movie where every one of the main characters shows us something to relate too, or, as I perceived it, they all portray sides of the same issue.

Leigh (Kristen Bell) feels confused, depressed, lost. She is almost 30 years old and realizes she doesn't want to keep on living a life that does not fulfill her. She shouldn't have to. Leigh wants to feel alive again, she is tired of not being happy. "You look sad" Jason says to her, and that's exactly how she looks. She was a valedictorian, with high expectations, and then when she did grow up, it is not nice as promised. She wants to escape, bury her head in the sand, feel good again, feel alive. Is it bad to want to feel good? When Jason holds her in his arms, towering over her as she is so petite, she looks sheltered again, and "you will never be sheltered again", she tells Jason. She is "sucking his youth like a vampire".

Todd (Martin Starr) and Mel (Mamie Gummer) are Leigh's high-school friends. Todd, still living in a small town, still in the closet, works a job where he will not be missed if he goes away for half an hour. He looks sad too. "Why don't you leave?" Matty asks the obvious question; "I just can't". Inertia, fear. Growing-up (for real) is scary. The look on his face when Mel yells at him "what's wrong with you?", is so real, he looks so hurt. When Leigh starts her "escape trip" he is eager to follow. We will see him fall low in the process, but at the end, really grow. Martin Starr, and Kristen Bell as well, prove here that they can be great in non-comedic roles as well. Mel also follows her two friends in their carefree journey, although reluctantly. She looks like she has her life together. Married, a vice-principal, trying to get pregnant. A responsible grown-up. The picture of the perfect life, but she is stressed and unhappy. That "perfect" mold doesn't quite fit her. At the end, she get's to be more conscious of her wants and her choices.

To relive their youth, Leigh, Todd and Mel hang out with a group of 16-year-old boys, who are in their turn frustrated with being misunderstood teenagers in a small town. The interactions between the two age groups were beautiful, as each learns and grows from the other. The young cast was excellent too. Especially David Lambert as Jason, who did a great job looking like the mixture of child and adult that a teenager is.

The setting of the pool, Leigh's pale looks, the nature hikes, the quiet gas station at night, create a fitting melancholic atmosphere to surround the story. When the characters grow up at the end, Jason and Todd for the first time, Leigh and Mel for a second time, it's a mature choice, a step forwards. Time does only move in one direction, but swimming is different than just floating along.


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