Skate Kitchen: Film Review

I first became aware of Crystal Moselle‘s Skate Kitchen when it was on the line-up of the Sundance London Film Festival. I missed it then, but I’m glad I caught up with it, because it was rich, gritty, and the actors are super talented.

*Spoiler alert* 

The coming-of-age film follows Camille (Rachelle Vinberg), a lonely skateboarder from Long Island, whose life changes when she connects with this group Skate Kitchen on Instagram and goes to meet the girls behind the account in New York City. The group – consisting of Kurt (Nina Moran), Indigo (Ajani Russell), Janay (Dede Lovelace) and Ruby (Kabrina Adams) – become her tribe, but their friendship is tested when she falls for Devon (Jaden Smith), Janay’s ex.

Besides Smith, these actors are not professionals – they are skateboarding girls that Moselle came across on a NYC subway train. She got inspired by them and created her first narrative feature (after her documentary The Wolfpack) based on stories they told her, with a few added dramatic elements. Because of this, Skate Kitchen feels super realistic – these are skaters who can act, not actors who can skate. Most of the time it doesn’t even feel like they are acting, it is so natural and real.

You can see why Moselle chose Vinberg as her lead – she is captivating. We see that world through her eyes and follow her journey from innocent suburban teenager to hardened not-so-innocent city skater. I personally loved her style too – I wanted everything she wore. All the girls brought something to the table though – Moran has the most amazing raspy, deep voice that I could listen to all day, Janay brings the drama, Indigo gives the boy advice, and Ruby films all their tricks. Smith is the biggest name in the mix, but he doesn’t outshine any of the girls. He fits in nicely and is a supporting character, which was a wise choice.

Not much happens plot-wise really, but I enjoyed watching Camille’s journey, from moving out from her mother (Elizabeth Rodriguez)’s house to trying drugs etc. This also contains one of the most engrossing and realistic talks about tampons ever. That’s how girls genuinely talk about it!

I could have done with it being slightly shorter as it began to lose momentum, and I wasn’t completely sold on the ending – I wanted an apology in person and I felt like Camille only wanted to become friends with them after realising Devon wasn’t into her. Not cool.

Skate Kitchen is awesome. It’s nice to have a coming-of-age story about a bunch of talented females. I was invested in these girls’ stories completely and it was so gritty, realistic and rich that it felt like a documentary.

In selected cinemas Friday 28th September 

Comments

  1. Sounds good! Anyway am Jacob from Busua Western Ghana. And I have been skateboarding from 10 years now, I started skateboard on the road side with only 2 skateboarders my brother and I. Today we have get more skateboarders here in Busua Western Ghana then I think is fun. Also I decide myself to teach a kid’s in my community and they are also interested to learn it.. so now I have about 44 skateboarders here in my community…. Please how long have you been in skateboarding?

    Like

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