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Penticton «Richard Crouse

WILD GOAT SURF: 3 STARS. “evokes a beautiful childhood feeling.”


“Wild Goat Surf” sounds like three random words you might put together as a password for one of your social media sites, but it’s actually the name of a charming new movie, now in theaters, about the dreams of a twelve-year-old becoming a surfer, despite never having ridden a big wave.

Set in the early 2000s in the seaside town of Penticton, British Columbia, the film sees Rell “Goat” Anderson (Shayelin Martin) and her mother Jane (Caitlyn Sponheimer, who also wrote and directs the film) living rent-free in a camper. park. While Jane earns a living working two jobs and converting their bungalow into a sublet for tourists, Goat daydreams of becoming a professional surfer like her late father.

When Goat meets the clumsy Nate (Leandro Guedes) at the RV park, they immediately form a bond. They spend their days skateboarding, surfing on makeshift boards and engaging in petty crime. It’s all fun and games until their tricks have real-life consequences that threaten Jane’s reputation and Goat’s dreams of becoming a surfer.

“Wild Goat Surf” is a gentle, summery coming-of-age story that uses surfing as a metaphor for life. Goat wistfully dreams of following in her surfer father’s footsteps, but in a metaphorical sense it’s about taking the leap into life and surviving, regardless of the consequences. “Those waves will push you down,” says one of her fantasy surfing heroes, “but you have to come up for air.”

The sentiment isn’t exactly new, but it’s presented with panache. Sponheimer carefully recreates the time frame and the sultry feeling of an endless, eventful summer, but it is the young actors and their beautiful, natural performances that evoke a wonderful sense of childhood in all its ambitious and awkward glory.

“Wild Goat Surf” tackles big topics, like poverty and personal ambition, but works best as a character piece

Tags: British Columbia, Brittany Drisdelle, Caitlyn Sponheimer, coming-of-age drama film, Dyllón Burnside, Leandro Guedes, Penticton, Shayelin Martin, Wild Goat Surf
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