Four young women share a shack on a beach where, each morning, before the rest of the world wakes to the routines of everyday life, they tame the sea with nothing more than their bodies and a piece of fiberglass. Anne Marie ("Remember the Titans'" Kate Bosworth) is the central focus, but she is representative of every girl who will face--as all contemporary girls do--questions about what they are capable of, and what they really want when their desires are not filtered through fear and life's expectations. She loves to surf and you believe it from the first frame. She owns her body, as do all the young women in this film--not simply for the enjoyment of boys (who are few and only relevant in specific moments in the movie), but because they are the tools of their trade. She almost dies while trying to ride a giant 'pipe wave' only weeks before a major competition. Now, her life could go either way. She's afraid, but--with the encouragement of her stalwart companions and the exact right words from the exact right boy (Matt Davis of "Legally Blonde")--she finds herself and overcomes her fear. Trite? Perhaps; however, it's not the 'what' but the 'how' and the 'why' that counts here. There are no real villains in the movie. It's like "Rocky," only the struggle is mostly internal--before it manifests in an exhilarating ride that will leave you quivering thanks to Stockwell's adeptness as a filmmaker. The energy is palpable. Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez ("Girlfight," "The Fast and the Furious") and real-life surfer girl Sanoe Lake are all more that up to the task of communicating something important that both girls and boys ought to hear and see: that girls are strong and capable and, to paraphrase a great line from Matt Davis' character in the film, they "don't need some dude to tell them what to do." Starring Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, Sanoe Lake, Matthew Davis, Mika Boorem and Faizon Love. Directed by John Stockwell. Written by John Stockwell and Lizzy Weiss. Produced by Brian Grazer and Karen Kehela. A Universal release. Drama/Romance. Rated PG-13 for sexual content, teen partying, language and a fight. Running time: 104 min
It would be easy to dismiss "Blue Crush" as a late-summer trifle, with its bikini-clad girls and ripped dudes riding 30-foot waves with cameras in places that cameras cannot be, breathtaking sunsets off the Maui shore and a couple of nice ideas about girl power and such. Frankly, it's all of that. And for a late-summer movie about girls and surfing, that's all it needs to be. But this, like director John Stockwell's last feature, "Crazy/Beautiful" (a little-seen but extraordinary film about the complications of youth, family and love), is much deeper. It cuts to the core of what it actually means to face your fears, to be a girl in a world of boys, to be a boy truly in love with a girl, and to ride the big metaphorical wave that is life--wherever it takes you.