For me one of the real discoveries of the 2015 movie year to date is the heartfelt independent Ride written and directed by Helen Hunt.
She also stars as an overprotective mother (with reasons slowly
revealed from her past) who follows her son (Brenton Thwaites) from New
York City to the beaches of Southern California (where his father lives)
when he secretly drops out of school and decides to try his hand at
surfing. After stalking him in a hired limo, they finally confront each
other and she decides to show him she’s not as resistant to change as he
thinks — so, without his knowledge, she takes up surfing with a local beach dude (Luke Wilson) in an effort to come to terms not only with her son but also herself.
I say in my video review above, this is a true coming-of-age
comedy/drama for both of these characters, and seeing this mother/son
dynamic play out the way it does is unusual and welcome fodder for
movies. This is Oscar winner Hunt’s second feature as a filmmaker (the
first was seven years ago with Then She Found Me). She
has undeniable skill behind the camera and it certainly must have been
daunting to set so much of this on the water (and underneath). The
surfing sequences are terrific and Hunt, a surfer in real life, does not
seem shy in showing her character’s many wipeouts before finally being
able to stand on her own — a great metaphor for her life. One sequence
late in the film, in which she is shot underwater, is stunning in its
beauty and simplicity.
Thwaites, Wilson and David Zayas as limo driver Ramon are all
excellent, but this is Hunt’s film completely and she delivers the kind
of small independent little gem that could drown without the attention
it deserves. It is in limited play in theatres now through distributor
Screen Media but also simultaneously on VOD , and it is worth checking
out wherever and however you can find it. Hunt also produced along with
Lizzie Friedman, Moon Blauner, Karen Lauder and Greg Little.