Crystal Moselle, who made a name for herself as a documentarian with the 2015 hit The Wolfpack, takes inspiration from Larry Clark’s career in her narrative feature debut Skate Kitchen. It’s a seamless transition for Moselle who is experimenting (and subtlety infiltrating) with documentary aesthetics to tell a scripted story about a young woman who is trying to gain acceptance while searching for independence.
The lost lead Camille is played by Rachelle Vinberg who, in real life, is actually the co-founder of a New York all-female skate team called “The Skate Kitchen”. In the film Skate Kitchen, Camille escapes her Long Island suburbia to continue her interest in skateboarding, which her Mom (Elizabeth Rodriguez) disapproves of. On her secret trips to New York City, she starts hanging out with real-life members of “The Skate Kitchen” – they all play themselves. The natural chemistry of the skaters is strong, as expected, but their quick-witted conversations and reactions are what draws the audience to this crew. The film is intentionally shapeless to give the subjects on screen absolute freedom to express themselves; and while the reigns may be a little too loose on the narrative’s flow, Moselle’s decision gives the film visceral layers of culture, comedy, and rawness.
Crystal Moselle’s Skate Kitchen is pretty much a more optimistic version of Larry Clark’s Kids. While Clark’s Kids serves an important role on its own, Moselle’s film ensures audiences that modern teenagers (especially young women) are very much aware of their surroundings and their own opinions. Skate Kitchen deserves its adult rating due to its language and sexual content, but open-minded parents should consider watching with their own mature kids. Skate Kitchen could, in fact, bring families closer together – there’s something in it for everyone.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie