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The Lifeguard (2013)

HD   R Closed Captioning

Liz W. Garcia

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About the Movie

Watch it now before it’s in theatres! Leigh (Kristen Bell) is almost 30, and living a seemingly perfect life in New York. But when her career and love life both come crashing down, she flees to her suburban hometown and regresses right back into her teenage ways. She moves into her old room with her parents, hangs around with friends who never left town, and reclaims her high school job as a condo-complex lifeguard. But as Leigh enjoys shirking off adult life and responsibilities, and enters into an illicit affair, she begins a chain reaction that affects those closest to her. With an all-star cast that also includes Martin Starr (“Party Down,” “Knocked Up”), Mamie Gummer (“Side Effects”) and Oscar nominee Amy Madigan, it’s a journey that’s both hilarious and heartfelt. A presentation of Screen Media Films and Focus World, the alternative distribution division of Focus Features.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 30
  • Fresh: 4
  • Rotten: 26
  • Average Rating: 4.4/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Rotten: This directorial debut by Liz W. Garcia, a writer for television, bears some echoes of its creator's origins, going from deft to trite in its drama and setting up character arcs that feel sappily resolved within its feature length. – Nicolas Rapold, New York Times, Aug 29, 2013

Rotten: Drowning in self-pity is about as fun to watch as it sounds. – Peter Debruge, Variety, Jan 23, 2013

Rotten: Not even a checklist of indie film attributes can inject a sense of originality into this familiar narrative. – Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter, Jan 22, 2013

Rotten: From concept to execution to tone, writer-director Liz W. Garcia's The Lifeguard is a lifeless misfire. – Ernest Hardy, Village Voice, Aug 27, 2013

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Satisfying Story of Young Adult Indecision

I've got no experience with Veronica Mars, but I can see why people like Kristen Bell. She's real and relatable, as are all of the characters in this film.

At age 29, with her life in the city more disheartening and less complete than she ever expected, Kristen Bell's Leigh heads back home, where her two best friends (Mammie Gummer of The Good Wife and the familiar Martin Starr of Freaks and Geeks and about a million other comedies) are leading lives equally unperfected. During her aimless summer in her home town, she crosses paths with the local drop-outs, played sensitively and convincingly by a trio of young actors, including recently discovered teen actor Alex Shaffer of the Paul Giamatti film Win, Win, in a supporting role. Youthful indiscretions can't really cohabit with adult responsibilities, and the dramatic tension is ratcheted-up (if also resolved fairly easily) in sincere ways.

Nice production and a convincing story of early middle-age indecision with nuanced acting by a strong cast of recognizable faces adds up to a satisfying film.


Great film!!!!!! This took summer fling to a whole new level. Kudos to David Lambert on spectacular acting and on KB (snarky and beautiful as always). Just watch it. You won't be disappointed!

Who guards The Lifeguard?

“The Lifeguard” offers Kristen Bell in a different kind of coming of age story. Delivering an amazing performance, Bell’s character finds herself on the cusp of turning 30 and completely lacking a general direction in her life. Her job as a journalist has failed her and she finds that after 29 years of doing exactly as expected of her, she doesn’t know what the next step in her life is. She returns home one summer after a failed relationship with a married man in hopes that living with her parents for a while will offer her the time she needs to reevaluate her life. Instead, Kristen Bell embarks on an emotional roller coaster, entangling her life and the lives of her best friends (played by Mamie Gummer and Martin Starr) with the tribulations of a group of 16 year olds. This realistic dramedy, though very dark at times, offers a much less romantic perspective of growing up and is quite refreshing to see.

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The Lifeguard (2013)
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  • $14.99
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Released: 2013

Customer Ratings