Film Review: Chalet Girl

It may not transcend age boundaries in the same way as Mean Girls, but Chalet Girl is still a fun teen movie. With its mix of comedy, romance and drama, the film’s intended audience should not be disappointed.

Kim is stuck in a rut working in a fast-food restaurant in London. When she is offered the job of a chalet girl, she is reluctant to leave her undomesticated father. After taking a leap of faith, Kim is thrust into a world of snowboarding, posh girls and attractive young men…

Chalet Girl is a fun piece of fluff that does not take itself too seriously. The film deals with the usual teenage concerns, and is quite predictable as a result. Nevertheless, Chalet Girl provides a fun journey to its inevitable conclusion. The pacing is good; director Phil Traill never allows the film to drag.

The humour in Chalet Girl will most likely appeal to younger audience members. There are plenty of sight gags, in keeping with skiing theme. Similarly, the romance storyline features all the trials and tribulations of a teen love story. Although it is clear from the outset what the end result will be, there are plenty of bumps along the way.

The characters featured in Chalet Girl are fairly archetypal for this type of teen romantic comedy. Kim is the fish out of water in a world filled with the luxuries of the wealthy. In being ordinary, Kim is a character that most will be able to relate to. She is depicted as being down to earth, a contrast to other chalet girls such as Georgie. The film features a scene where Kim goes for a job interview, competing with young ladies who are well-spoken and immaculate. This sequence does well to emphasise the class difference present in the film, as well as providing humour.

Most refreshing in Chalet Girl is that Kim’s gender is not an issue in pursuing the sport she enjoys. Although Chalet Girl shares a number of parallels with Bend It Like Beckham, thankfully the film is not preoccupied with overcoming obstacles because the protagonist is female. Rather, Kim is able to pursue her interest in snowboarding without it being considered solely a sport for men.

Felicity Jones is bright and well cast as Kim. She portrays the character’s commonness well, particularly in contrast to Tamsin Egerton’s glamorous Georgie. Ed Westwick as Jonny will no doubt pull in Gossip Girl fans, while UK film stalwarts such as Bill Nighy should ensure interest from British audiences.

Chalet Girl may not be an awards contender, but it is still enjoyable stuff. Although the film will primarily appeal to a young teen audience, adults should also find the mindless entertainment fun.

Film Review: Cemetery Junction

After Ricky Gervais’ last co-written, co-directed and co-stared feature, The Invention of Lying, you would be forgiven for being a little skeptical about this latest offering. However, Cemetery Junction is an enjoyable picture, combining an adequate amount of laughs with a genuine emotional depth.

Freddie Taylor is the son of a factory worker, living in the dead-end town Cemetery Junction in the early 1970s. Wishing to make more of his life, Freddie thinks working for a big insurance company will help achieve his goal of leaving his old life behind. But things rarely work out as simple as this…

Christian Cooke is bright as the protagonist Freddie; his blossoming friendship with Julie (played by Felicity Jones) is a delight to watch. Ralph Fiennes, Tom Hughes and Jack Doolan are all believable in their roles. The star turn, however, is delivered by Emily Watson, who gives an understated yet strong performance as Mrs Kendrick.

The relationship between Freddie and his friends Bruce and Stork seems very natural. The film is well written; the dialogue and circumstances appear very believable. Gervais and Merchant have succeeded in producing a well-crafted drama with a sufficient amount of comic relief. Aesthetically, the film seems authentic with its depiction of a small British town in the 1970s; the soundtrack is bursting with hits of that decade.

Ricky Gervais has a role in Cemetery Junction, but given his reputation for playing very similar characters, it is thankfully small. Overall, the film should strike a chord with audiences all too familiar with the small-town mentality; the theme is broad enough to be identifiable where ever in the world you watch it.