Metascore
34

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 14
  2. Negative: 8 out of 14
  1. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Aug 29, 2013
    38
    Writer-director Liz W. Garcia depicts Leigh’s quandary with a heavy hand that gets heavier as the movie goes on, ending with one of those portentous freeze-frames that worked in “The 400 Blows” and never since.
  2. Reviewed by: Justin Lowe
    Jul 12, 2013
    30
    Surprisingly for a writer turned director, the most evident shortcomings with Garcia’s feature originate with the script. With barely any backstory to support them, the characters consistently appear to lack the motivations necessary for their actions.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Jul 12, 2013
    30
    Lambert brings a forlorn dimension to his seductive young role, but Bell never really convinces as the older woman. Despite flirting with controversy, the actress seems reluctant to plunge fully into potential unlikability, nor does the film quite give her the chance.
  4. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Jul 12, 2013
    27
    The Lifeguard is a painfully dull (alleged) drama utterly lacking in originality or self-awareness.
  5. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Aug 30, 2013
    25
    Dull yet contrived drama.
  6. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    Aug 27, 2013
    25
    The film heroically stretches out its governing water metaphor to a point that allows it to best Garden State's Guinness World Record for most incessant navel-gazing.
  7. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    Aug 27, 2013
    20
    From concept to execution to tone, writer-director Liz W. Garcia's The Lifeguard is a lifeless misfire.
  8. Reviewed by: Eric Hynes
    Aug 27, 2013
    20
    This drama is as listless and self-regarding as its protagonist, flitting among underdeveloped characters and subplots and indulging in rote emo shots by the pool, yet never figuring out how to dive into the deep end.
User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 5
  2. Negative: 1 out of 5
  1. Nov 12, 2013
    8
    I really don't understand the bad reviews this movie received. I watched it on a whim on Netflix streaming, so I went into it knowing nothing about it or how it was received. I went in completely raw and I really liked this movie. I have high standards when it comes to movies, and I don't give something a good score if it doesn't truly deserve it. I wonder if there was some Hollywood politics going on that led to critics ganging up on this movie undeservedly (perhaps critics were too scared off by the taboo "sex with a minor" plot line that they were afraid to review the film positively for risk of being labeled "immoral" ).

    Anyway. I also recently watched "Lost in Translation", and "The Lifeguard" deals with similar themes and handles them well. I'm not saying "The Lifeguard" is on the same level as "Lost in Translation", but this movie handled its ideas and themes well. It basically explores the very common existential crisis that people go through in their late 20's when they begin to question their decisions and reflect on their regrets. The late 20's is an age when people are finally coming out of the confusion of youth and are starting to reflect on themselves and solidify who they are. It is a time when many people slow down, analyze themselves, and often come to the realization that they've never really stopped to think about what they truly want. This movie effectively portrays the struggle that people face when dealing with these issues.

    I found it pretty deep and engaging. The characters were quite believable to me, so I'm not sure why the critics said the characters felt forced or fake. I really related to the characters and their struggles. Many of the criticisms that the critics have mentioned with this movie could also be made against "Lost in Translation" (limited character backstory and a story that takes place within a short timespan), yet no one had a problem with those things in "Lost in Translation."

    Again, it makes me think that politics were involved which led to critics unfairly skewering this movie for arbitrary reasons. I was baffled as to why so many critics ripped the movie for something as arbitrary as the soundtrack....seriously? I didn't even notice the soundtrack, it was just background music to me, yet many of the critics point to the "distracting soundtrack" as the thing that kills the movie. Who judges a movie on something as insignificant as its soundtrack? Again, it smells like critics decided to gang up on this movie so they had to come up with something stupid to criticize it for. The soundtrack? Really? Come on, critics...you've got to try harder than that.
    Full Review »
  2. Oct 20, 2013
    7
    To call The Lifeguard a coming-of-age film doesn't quite do it justice. It is that, but it's not just a teenager who is coming of age. There is an almost 30 year old who is discovering that her life as a journalist in the big city hasn't quite turne out like she planned. There is a 17 year old who plans to drop out of high school and move far away with his best friend. There is another 30 year old woman who is on the edge of starting a family and is paralyzed with fear that she won't be a good mother. There is a third 30 year old who still lives in his hometown and has yet to come out of the closet. And finally there is a woman in her late 50's who is embarking on a second act in life and desperately needs to be taken serious by those around her.

    The story centers around Leigh, the journalist mentioned above. She lives in New York City and works for the Associated Press. Even though she feels that her stories are serious journalism, her editor keeps putting them in the less serious sections. She is also having an affair with him even though he is engaged to someone else. When she finds it too much to bear, she decides to pack some clothes and her cat and heads off to her hometown thinking her parents will be more than happy to let her move back in. But when she arrives, she finds her old room being turned into an office and her mother doesn't quite give her the warm welcome she expected.

    She also reconnects with 2 old friends from high school: one is a vice-principal at the same school they attended and the other is a closeted gay guy who runs an art gallery. She also gets her old job as a lifeguard at a neighborhood pool. There she meets a group of 3 young teenage boys who regularly skip school, smoke pot, and skateboard. This group of 6 become unlikely friends and Leigh gets too close to Little Jason, resulting in life-altering consequences for all of them.

    When I first rented the film, I thought it was going to be a lot lighter than it was. I didn't expect the script to be so complex and thought-provoking. The performances are excellent. Kristen Bell is very different in the role of Leigh. She really shows her acting ability. Mamie Gummer is superb as the frustrated vice-principal trying to balance right and wrong and being a grown-up. But the break out performance is definitely from David Lambert as Little Jason. At first, he seems like a typical teen with not a lot going on inside his head. But he is just what Leigh needs. His face is so expressive and his range is well beyond an actor his age. I suspect we will see a lot of him in the future.
    Full Review »
  3. Mar 7, 2014
    5
    "The Lifeguard" es una mala pelicula dramatica, no tuvo un buen argumento y tampoco tuvo un buen desarrollo; tambien no tuvo las mejores actuaciones.Esta pelicula no vale la pena verla. Full Review »