The first thing you’ll want to do after watching Skate Kitchen is buy a board. Then you’ll want to download every song off the killer soundtrack. Because Crystal Moselle’s movie is pure, seductive cool. Following a suburban teen skater (Rachelle Vinberg) as she finds herself and her crew amid NYC’s buzzy, goldenhours streets, this is a raw, hypnotic, joyous mood piece.
True, it’s narratively slight. And Jaden Smith’s stuntcasting jars. But those shortcomings are more than compensated for by the film’s sensory richness, tangible sense of place and refreshing portrayal of young women (who discuss vagina injuries, date rape and feminism in the same stoner breath as the Mandela Effect).
Moselle’s documentary background is keenly felt. Swooping along asphalt, the handheld camerawork captures an observational vibe. Meanwhile, the screenplay weaves fluid arcs into the naturalistic banter of the skaters-turned-actors. Moselle was inspired to write the film by a chance meeting with Vinberg and she understands what the attraction is here, devoting several kinetic montages to the girls’ mad skills that capture the thrill of the ride, the comfort of tribe and the emancipation of truly being oneself. Jane Crowther
An evocative coming-of-ager that challenges definitions of femininity while shredding it at the park.
both bold and cool. the bumbag over the shoulder look, that is…