Teenage angst, its been done in movies countless times and to usually mixed results. There are far too many movies on the subject matter. But it is a rarity when the film captures the true essence of what it is to be a rebellious teenager. Especially, one who comes from a fractured background trying to make the most out of life. And yes, making the most out of life sometimes means doing dumb things. Jessica Hester and Derek Schweickart co-direct Coast which tells this story. The theme of teenage angst and trying to forge a more interesting life while not knowing a whole lot better is certainly present. But it’s not entirely engaging. Thankfully though a strong performance from the lead makes this teenage dream a more palatable experience.
The film focuses on Abby (Fatima Ptacek) and her classmates/friends as they’re trying to coast through their formative years. Everything takes a turn when a band must stay in their town. And then, Abby gains an interest in the frontman, Dave (Kane Ritchotte). While this is all going on, her mother, Debora (Cristela Alonzo) is going through a divorce. She works at the hospital taking care of a single patient, Olivia (Melissa Leo), and not paying attention to what her daughter is going through. There are clear signs that something is happening with her daughter, considering her drastic change in her appearance. But it never truly clicks with her mother which leads Abby to decide if she wants to escape the town she so desperately wants to break free from. Or, if she should stay and be with her family.
Fatima Ptacek is certainly trying to break free of some of her previous work (she is the former voice of Dora from Dora the Explorer). And Coast allows her to have an identity and prove that she has the acting chops to support it. Her performance is very reminiscent of those coming of age stories where there is always the breakout star that carries the feature to new heights. And that is what Fatima does. She throws herself into the character and truly shines through.
However, the rest of the cast, and Melissa Leo who appears to be there for nothing other than name recognition, falls short. Fatima is left carrying the entire movie on her shoulder, a feat she pulls off. What works in Coast aside from the incredible performance from Fatima Ptacek, is the soundtrack. The movie is engulfed in a purely punk rock atmosphere. And the incredible song choices lace the soundtrack, the film using one punk anthem after another.
A killer soundtrack, a great leading performance, but an undefined coming of age story makes Coast just that, another notch in the never ending cycle of coming of age stories. Come for the soundtrack and Fatima Ptacek’s performance. But don’t expect anything that will blow you away and sit with you after the credits roll.
- Rated: NR
- Genre: Drama
- Directed by: Derek Schweickart, Jessica Hester
- Starring: Andres Velez, Ciara Bravo, Cristela Alonzo, Fatima Ptacek, Kane Ritchotte, Melissa Leo, Mia Rose Frampton
- Produced by: Dani Faith Leonard, Jessica Hester, Wendy Guerrero
- Written by: Cindy Kitagawa
- Studio: A Journey Home Film, Big Vision Empty Wallet, LLC, Straight Up Studios