MOVIE: SKATE KITCHEN
STARRING: RACHELLE VINBERG; ARDELIA LOVELACE; NINA MORAN; JADEN SMITH
DIRECTED BY: CRYSTAL MOSELLE
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
Skate Kitchen is, as the kids are saying these days, “my jam”. The newest film from director Crystal Moselle is a fantastic follow-up to her 2017 documentary hit The Wolfpack. It combines the style of a documentary with the coming-of-age themes in a narrative feature, with a cast of non-actors, and a voyeuristic look that makes it the perfect “hang out” movie for years to come. It also tells a story of female empowerment, friendship, and what it means to grow up in the big city of New York. Skate Kitchen is not just one of my favorite movies of 2018, it is a film that I want to relive again and again.
Our main character is Camille (Rachelle Vinberg), a 19-year old woman, living in Long Island with her single mother. At first glance, one might think Camille is a bit of a loner, but she's actually someone who just needs a chance to fly. She's shy, amazing at skateboarding, and has the passion to back it up. Trying to do a cool trick leads to her needing some stitches in her leg and a stern warning from her mom, but she's not going to be kept down. One day she peruses Instagram and finds a group called “Skate Kitchen”, a posse of female skaters, living in mid-town Manhattan, making viral skate videos. Under strict rules from her mother, she sneaks out of the house, locates the group, and they all immediately bond.
It's quite hard to promote a movie like Skate Kitchen. A low-budget film, about women, directed by a woman, and the coming-of-age experience. How can I get you to go see a movie about a group of 18 and 19-year-old's who are phenomenal at skateboarding, have fun chatting about boys, and a genuine love for one another? The answer is you should want to see it and live through different lives. The direction from Moselle is stellar. With cinematography by Shabier Kirchner that captures all of the sights and sounds around the city. The up-beat soundtrack makes us feel alive, as we watch Camille, Kurt (scene stealer Nina Moran), Janay (Ardelia Lovelace), Eliza (Jules Lorenzo), and Kabrina (Kabrina Adams) become true friends. It feels like a reminder of what it was like growing up. No matter what the gender was, I related to the entire experience from beginning to end.
If Skate Kitchen has any flaws it's that it loses a bit of steam in the end as the narrative goes through the dramatic divide, which arises between Camille, possible love interest played by Jaden Smith, and the rest of the crew, but that eventually ties up as a nice expression of the growing pains that we all go through in life. Camille's path from looking for her escape from home and finding out what matters in life, may be predictable, but it's incredibly honest. The final result is one of the most exciting movies of 2018 and the emergence of one of the best directors in cinema today: Crystal Moselle. Skate Kitchen reminds us what it is like to be young. To be free of the stresses of work or paying bills. It's hands down one of my favorite movies of 2018. If you can't stand the heat, go see Skate Kitchen.
3 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady