“… a movie steeped in a culture that I thought was long-dead.”
I wasn’t expecting much when I went to see Skate Kitchen, which was good because that’s what I got. In the wake of films like Ladybird and Eighth Grade, Skate Kitchen, a film about a young girl joining a skateboarding group, manages to be a really trite look at adolescence. The stories have been told before, and told better, but that doesn’t mean I hated the movie.
Although Skate Kitchen struggles to provide anything new in terms of insight or storytelling, I did find the movie to be really genuine. I’m not familiar with director Crystal Moselle’s work (I have yet to see The Wolfpack), but I know her style is more documentarian which I felt worked really well for Skate Kitchen. The story presented in the movie is really raw and earnest (or at least it tries to be) and the way it is shot only accentuates these features.
Now apart from the feel of the movie Skate Kitchen doesn’t have much going for it. Sure the movie feels genuine, but with that comes the main pitfall of real life: nothing interesting happens. It felt to me that all of the drama in Skate Kitchen was contrived, and there were only a few brief moments discussing actual real-world issues that would have been very impactful had they been explored in more detail. And this lack of a point only hurts the film when you begin to check your watch well before the halfway point. There are only so many funny lines you can spout before the audience realizes that nothing of substance is taking place.
Now I will admit that Skate Kitchen did have what I recognized as emotional moments, but they didn’t register with me. This can be the cause of a few different things, the most likely being I am not a teenage girl. I don’t/didn’t have to go through the same things as women did, so it is quite possible that these moments simply passed me by. But it is also possible that these moments didn’t resonate with anybody. They almost felt manipulative in my opinion, from my firmly outside perspective. These moments would come along and have a tenuous connection to the plot at best, and attempt to emotionally control the audience. But then again, it’s difficult to have a connection to a plot when one doesn’t exist.
Overall Skate Kitchen is a movie steeped in a culture that I thought was long-dead. It’s not a movie with a point, instead trying to capitalize on the ‘slice-of-life’ genre that has been gaining popularity. Unfortunately the life portrayed was one of contrived conflict and ignorant behaviour.
I give Skate Kitchen a C