Director: Liz Garcia
Screenplay: Liz Garcia
Ever wonder what rock bottom looks like? The Lifeguard shows one version of rock bottom that is somehow funny, sad, disturbing, and hopeful all at the same time. Leigh is a journalist who is sick of her low income, unappreciated, affair-having life in New York and moves back home to her parents’ house. Leigh’s two best friends, Mel and Todd, remained in the small town as a vice principle and gallery attendant, respectively. As Leigh works through her personal problems she begins her old job as a lifeguard at an apartment complex where some high school kids live. Leigh, Mel, and Todd begin to hang out with the kids, which leads to Leigh beginning a romantic relationship with one of them, Jason. This story follows Leigh and Jason’s relationship which shows how far Leigh has fallen. Many twists and turns lead to a complicated ending that grips the audience and leaves viewers speechless.
Leigh is stuck at this crossroad that has her confused and frozen. She can’t just choose a path and go with it, she metaphorically sits down at the fork in the road and pauses her life. This is essentially Leigh’s myth. She wants to be this life changing journalist who writes important pieces and who lives in New York City, but she hasn’t hit her stride yet and instead regresses back to her high school self. She ultimately finds her way out of this rut, but the majority of the film we see her living this myth of questioning. She has no purpose and kind of flounders in that mystery. She is not trying to get out of this myth until the end of the movie, she is just content to let things fall apart, that in itself kind of make up the myth she has fallen into.
This film has some big name actors who do a phenomenal job portraying small town kids trying to find their way. This film is probably a 5 on 1-10 scale of mainstream to independent. There are a lot of independent aspects to the film but here are also a lot of typical mainstream aspects as well. For example, Leigh’s relationship with an under-aged kid is incredibly independent. This would have a hard time being widely accepted in the mainstream realm. However the idea of adults questioning the path they have chosen is a commonly seen aspect of mainstream film. Leigh and Mel, in particular, struggle with who they have become as adults. Therefore this film really balances on the teeter-totter of the mainstream and independent scale. Taking all of this into account I would highly recommend this film to any woman from 20 on up, it has a really interesting message and story that I feel most women will find intriguing